Tiny finches battle Galilee giants
A TINY and endangered bird has found itself unknowingly thrust into battle against some of the world's largest mining companies.
The black throated finch is an endangered species protected under federal law, and it was recently sighted on three Galilee Basin properties covered by mining exploration leases.
Following a reported sighting of the endangered species at Bimblebox last year, a nature refuge under threat from Clive Palmer's proposed $8 billion China First mega mine, a team from BirdLife Southern Queensland mobilised to set the record straight.
"There were five sightings on three different properties in the area," BirdLife's Grahame Rogers said yesterday, following a two week survey conducted in April.
"At one sight there were 10 (black throated finches).
"The fact is, if they mine the areas of habitat the (birds) need; it threatens the species.
"They need very specific habitat requirements, it's not as though they can just get up and fly somewhere else - they will die.
"There's a huge amount of coal - one of the miners said they have enough to do 60 Mtpa for 100 years. Well, surely they can keep a few areas to ensure the survival of the species.
"They are not standing in the way of the mines if the miners are careful about where they dig."
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Federal Government has the right to step in on projects that threaten endangered species, of which the black throated finch is one.
Although none were found on Bimblebox during the survey, Mr Rogers said it was by far the richest piece of land the team of 16 surveyors visited.
He added the most recent survey "had only touched the surface" of what wildlife was in the region, and claimed those conducting the Environmental Impact Statements for mining companies were simply "not looking hard enough".
"We made sure everyone concerned is well and truly aware of our findings," Mr Rogers said.
"We had an enormously positive reception from landholders in the region; most are extremely scared what mining will do to their lives and properties."