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Blackwater South

Whitehaven recently purchased the Blackwater South project from BMA who referred the project for assessment under Federal environmental law in 2022. The project could impact more than 6,800 hectares of habitat, equivalent to 3,400 Melbourne Cricket Ground sized sporting fields.

BMA’s Terrestrial Ecology survey report identifies an approximate total of 350.3 ha of preferred koala habitat mapped in the survey area. An additional 3,507.7 ha of suitable habitat and 3,026.6 ha of marginal habitat containing emergent eucalypt species suitable for this species also occurs in the survey area.

BMA’s Terrestrial Ecology surveys recorded 5 Koalas at the mine site see page 74 of the survey report. Indirect evidence of Koalas, which includes scratches and scats, were also identified. The survey report applies an assessment of critical habitat for the Koala and concludes the mine area is ‘critical habitat’ assigning a score of 7 to the habitat. A total score of 5 is the trigger at which a site may be described as critical habitat, based upon the critical habitat mapping criteria within the EPBC Act referral guidelines. See table 5.8 on page 102-103 of the survey report.

The below photo of a koala observed on the site of the proposed mine is taken from page 87 of the survey report.