logo image

Objection: Kalamazoo Exploration Licence Application

The CBA submitted the following objection to the granting of an Exploration Licence (noticed in The Age, 30th May 2018) to Kalamazoo Resources Limited, c/o M & M Walter Consulting, PO Box 8197, Subiaco East, WA. 6008

Application Number: EL006752

This objection is made by the Chewton Bushlands Association Inc., representing the community of the Chewton Bushlands.

We request that the Chewton Bushlands area be excised from the exploration area proposed by the applicant on residential and environmental grounds.

The Chewton Bushlands is a residential area with the majority of properties between 5 and 8 acres, some larger, and covering a total area of ~500 acres. The land comprises lower gully areas rising to hills of over 500 metres. The soil is of low fertility, the hills steep and rocky, the roads are dirt, narrow and winding and inaccessible to larger vehicles. Except for a few at the edge of the area, homes are off the grid, relying on solar power, generators and rain water tanks. Properties are bush blocks with clearing only around the houses. The community comprises people who chose to live in the bush in a peaceful and reasonably remote area.

The Chewton Bushlands Association contains within its Statement of Purpose that it “seeks to promote ..sustainability and environmental protection of flora and fauna”.
• The Chewton Bushlands area provides protection of a valuable piece of Victoria’s remaining 17% of Box-ironbark Forest. Local residents are committed to the preservation of the environment, to the maintenance of the existing high level of biodiversity, and to actively manage threats like pest plants and animals.
• Assessment by representatives of Trust for Nature between 2004 and 2009 recognized the Chewton Bushlands as a small but valuable area of intact natural habitat and six properties, a total area of ~80 hectares, have Trust for Nature covenants which permanently protect the vegetation and habitat values. Six properties are also registered with Land for Wildlife.
• There are also three important public conservation reserves in the Chewton Bushlands area: the Parks Victoria managed Chewton Bushland Reserve, the Mt Alexander Shire Council conservation-managed Wallaby Crescent Reserve and the natural areas of the Chewton Cemetery.
• It is also adjacent to the MacCay Reservoir managed by Coliban Region Water Corporatiion, which is surrounded by a large protected natural area. This reservoir provides water to the townships of Chewton and Elphinstone and part of the main water chanel (Kyneton to Bendigo) runs through Taradale and Elphinstone and on to Harcourt along the eastern boundary of the Chewton Bushlands.
• Roadsides also support significant vegetation and habitat.
• The hills of the Chewton Bushlands support a Dry Heathy Forest vegetation community with an overstorey dominated by Eucalypts which provide an important food source for birds and bats and nesting hollows for a range of species including the vulnerable Brush-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa),as listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. The understorey is rich in shrubs, tussock grasses and herbs, fungi in winter and wildflowers in spring. These include the threatened Castlemaine Spider-orchid (Caladenia concolor), also as listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the Scented Leek-orchid (Prasophyllum sp. affin. odoratum) which is under consideration as potentially specific to this area. Fallen trees and branches, and lichen-covered rocks provide habitat and refuge for a range of reptiles, frogs and birds. Kangaroos, solitary Swamp Wallabies and Short-beaked echidnas abound.
• The recently published “Native Plants and Animals of the Chewton Bushlands” gives a photo and description of 212 species of native flora and 212 species of native fauna, all sighted in the Chewton Bushlands.
In summary: The Chewton Bushlands area is entirely unsuitable for exploration for mineral resources. This is abundantly clear when considering its intrinsic natural value and the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 outline of Low Impact Exploration activities that must not be involved (Tenement Compliance Guidelines listed on earthresources.vic.gov.au) under the licence.
• The area is residential and inaccessible due to its rough roads, topography and covering of bush. The amenity of those who choose to live in the Chewton Bushlands will be seriously affected by any exploration.
• The rich native vegetation, habitat for fauna and biodiversity will suffer unacceptable irreparable damage. The bush is fragile, easily damaged and highly subject to erosion immediately after destructive interference by machinery. It contains two threatened species listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
• The eastern side of the Chewton Bushlands hills forms part of the catchment to the Coliban Water Corporation’s McCay Reservoir. Disturbance followed by rain will compromise the quality of the water supply to the townships of Chewton, Taradale and Elphinstone and, potentially, to Castlemaine.

The Chewton Bushlands Association, on behalf of all residents, strongly objects to an exploration licence being granted for the Chewton Bushlands area and requests that this area be excised from the area proposed in the application EL006752 made by Kalamazoo Resources Limited.

Leave a Reply