IFA Statement on Bauxite Mining and Revegetation
in the Northern Jarrah Forest
Is to inform the public and key decision-makers as to what is happening in the northern Jarrah forest and of the urgent actions required.
The Institute of Foresters Australia Inc. (IFA) is the professional body that represents the views of forest managers and scientists. It has a responsibility to comment on matters of importance to the health and management of forested ecosystems. The West Australian Division of the Institute wishes to draw attention to, and promote discussion on, the impacts of open-cut mining for bauxite in the northern jarrah forest and likely long-term outcomes.
The Agreement Act
When bauxite mining was first proposed in the early 1960s, foresters were concerned at the likely impacts on high-quality jarrah forest but were assured by Parliament that the clearing rate would be only 10 ha each year (500 ha in 50 years) to feed a small refinery at Kwinana. However, the reality is different.
Mining commenced near Jarrahdale in 1965. Fast forward 53 years and we now have four large refineries and an annual clearing rate of 800 ha. More than 29,000 ha of jarrah forest have been cleared and 21,000 ha “revegetated”. More recently, direct export of bauxite was approved and has commenced.
It is expected that the total area of jarrah forest directly impacted by bauxite mining will exceed 80,000 ha. However, as only about 25 percent of the landscape that comprises the mining envelope is mined, the overall impact is much greater (120,000 ha currently and over 300,000 ha in 50 years’ time). Most of the forest between Collie and Armadale is expected to be fragmented by bauxite mining by the year 2060 (see Figs 1 and 2).