On Monday the 19th of June, late in the afternoon, Alcoa announced a new mining exclusion zone around Dwellingup.
Perhaps Alcoa expected people to be grateful and relieved that it was ‘giving back’ 8,334 ha of its 720,000 ha lease area.
Perhaps if it had been land that Alcoa had plans to mine it would’ve landed more convincingly. If it had meant the protection of significant areas of forests that were actually under threat, the hubris of looking for accolades for ‘giving back’ publicly owned forests, wouldn’t have left such a nasty taste in everyone’s mouth.
It also would’ve been less offensive if the company hadn’t tried to pass off an actual townsite, privately held land and major infrastructure like highways as making up a valid mining exclusion zone worth putting a media release out about.
Alcoa was granted a mining lease and State Agreement Act in 1961 by the Brand Government covering 720,000 ha of forest ecoystems across the Northern Jarrah Forests from inland Perth to Collie.
Since then, Alcoa has behaved as if it owns these forests. But it does not, and the WA community is increasingly focused on clearing the hurdle Alcoa presents in the region, so that National Parks and Nature Reserves can be created to securely and permanently protect the remaining intact forests.
The no mining zone (shown in yellow below) does not include its proposed mine expansion (shown in red).
It sits directly south of historic mining areas (shown in white) and immediately north of the Lane Poole Reserve (shown in green).
There’s a large wedge of forest from the east of the no mining zone to the existing Alcoa expansion proposal which has also been left out of the no mining zone.
The 8,334 ha zone includes the Dwellingup townsite and private property and public infrastructure. Just over 5000 ha of the zone is fragmented areas of publicly owned forest. Much of it would have been very difficult, if impossible, for Alcoa to mine because of the need to create transport and infrastructure corridors over private land.
The final map zooms the lens out to show the whole of the Northern Jarrah Forest region; areas already cleared for bauxite by Alcoa and South32, as well as their respective expansion proposals.
It is critical that the remaining intact forests in the Northern Jarrah Forest region are securely and permanently protected. They are vital for water, wildlife, biodiversity and climate, and – as the IPCC recently warned – if we continue to clear them they are at real risk of climate collapse.
WAFA is urging the State Government to act decisively to create a network of new and expanded national parks and nature reserves to protect the precious and vulnerable South West forests as recommended in the Defining and creating new protected areas in the South West forests – Beyond 2024 proposal published by the Beeliar and Leeuwin Groups in 2022.
Director, WA Forest Alliance
For more information on the impacts of bauxite mining see our report A Thousand Cuts – mining in the Northern Jarrah Forests
Please send an email to WA Premier Roger Cook urging him to take urgent action and stop mining in the Northern Jarrah Forests.