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Adani carves out conservation area for endangered finch

Business

Adani has fenced off 30,000ha of its Moray Downs lease as a conservation area for wildlife including the endangered black-throated finch.

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It has also engaged Woongal Environmental Services, a Wangan and Jagalingou certified business, to deliver environmental services. The Wangan and Jagalingou are the traditional owners of the site and have been split over the acceptance of the mine.

The conservation area was part of conditions placed on the project when it was granted government approval for the coal mine in central Queensland.

Activists have claimed the conservation area is actually on land that is the subject of a mining lease claim by Clive Palmer’s coal project but Adani denied this and said it was on its Moray Downs lease. Activists have also questioned why the first phase of Carmichael mine’s open-cut coal pit seems to have significantly reduced in size – from 1300 hectares in previous announcements to 260 hectares.

The project was almost scuttled during the last state election campaign over a wave of protests about the mine’s environmental impact including the habitat area for the endangered black-throated finch.

Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow said the area demonstrated that the company was delivering on the conditions it signed up to with both the State and Federal governments as part of our approval processes.

“The offset area is one of the largest privately managed conservation areas in Queensland and is more than 126 times the size of the open cut mine area of our project.

“The conservation area will protect the black-throated finches’ natural habitat and is located more than 5km from the open-cut mine area and other infrastructure.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Christain Slattery said the best way to protect the black-throated finch was to not bulldoze its habitat.

He said Adani’s plans for the black-throated finch have been repeatedly rubbished by ecologists.

“The black-throated finch has already lost 88 per cent of its historical range. Six coal mines planned for the Galilee Basin would completely clear nearly 35,000 hectares of the finch’s best remaining habitat,” Slattery said.

Adani’s environmental services contract with Woongal will mean the company will deliver two key packages of work using specialist environmental consultants and a team of environmental and land management professionals.

The contract is expected to create about 10 full-time jobs, including one indigenous environmental graduate and four indigenous ranger roles. Other roles include indigenous administrators.

“We have been working closely with Woongal Environmental Services for many years to provide opportunities for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners to work on the Carmichael project,” Dow said.

“This is the second contract we have awarded to Woongal as part of our commitment to achieving a minimum $250 million Indigenous business development and contracting investment.”

As part of these works, Woongal will also implement the initial stages of our black-throated finch management plan, which includes a program of surveys, monitoring and management actions.

Woongal Environmental Services chief executive Bill Haylock said the project would skill Indigenous youth in environmental monitoring and management—building capacity while enhancing environmental conservation in the area.

“With this project we can get more indigenous youth back to country – to look after the country of their ancestors,” Haylock said.

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