Drilling noise disrupts weekend bird survey
Julimar Conservation Park track closed for early morning weekend drilling.
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
WEEKEND drilling in Julimar Conservation Park has upset local volunteers conducting a birdlife survey to help identify rare and endangered species.
Volunteers were also upset last month that part of the Salvado Pilgrim Trail through the forest to New Norcia was closed.
The early Saturday morning disruption was reported to The Herald after volunteers complained that engine noise from heavy machinery had disrupted their efforts to monitor bird calls to identify local species.
Some forest access roads were also blocked off with tape.Read more
Julimar Forest is the site of an extensive drilling program to map a large ore deposit that is predicted to turn Toodyay into a valuable source of rare metals to power growing world demand for electric vehicles.
Chalice Mining has already discovered deposits worth billions of dollars on nearby private land in Julimar and has secured State Government permits to drill in the forest, which it has been doing for the past year.
Wildlife surveys are being conducted by Birdlife Australia, the Julimar Conservation and Forest Alliance and other local volunteer environmental groups.
Members reported last May that they had discovered a Crested Shrike Tit (pictured left) which had not been seen in the forest for the previous 20 years.
Volunteers fear that drilling noise and disruption caused by mining exploration activity will disrupt habitats and cause rare birdlife to disappear.
A coalition of environmental groups is lobbying the State Government for Julimar Forest to be declared a national park.
A spokesperson for Chalice Mining said the company was continuing to conduct “low-impact” exploration according to State Government approvals.
“The drilling is conducted in accordance with the multiple environmental management measures in place to protect the environmental sensitivities of the region as governed by our Conservation Management Plan,” the spokesperson said.
“Low-impact exploration methods include the use of small footprint, track-mounted drill rigs and ongoing wildlife and cultural heritage monitoring in the area.
“Often, access on tracks surrounding the drill rig are restricted in compliance with our exploration conditions.
“When drilling is occurring on a track, traffic management is in place as required to minimise recreational impacts, and for the safety of others.
“The Julimar State Forest remains open and accessible to the community.
Chalice recognises the importance of the Camino Salvado Pilgrimage and has ongoing, two-way communication with the group.”