Mark Selmes, aka Cranky Koala, is a little bit hot under the collar about the proposed McPhillamy's Gold Project north of Blayney.
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During a protest that was held in front of the Regis Resources offices on Adelaide Street on Wednesday morning Mr Selmes voiced his concerns regarding the clearing of koala habitat at the mine site and across NSW.
"A government inquiry into koalas has found that if we don't take action to preserve habitat, koalas will be extinct in the wild by 2050," he said.
"So here we are with a mine at a site where koalas have been known to be, and have been seen, and which is actually a wildlife corridor that koalas move through.
"It makes no sense to me that we're now looking at clearing trees and homes for koalas.
"I thought we had evolved beyond that."
Manager of Special Projects at Regis Resources Tony McPaul said that the company exceeded the NSW and Commonwealth survey guidelines for the koala.
"A total of 12 spotlighting surveys were undertaken across the mine development area with 24 surveys undertaken for koala scats (droppings)," he said.
"Despite this extensive survey effort, only a single koala was identified in the mine project area. On this basis, koalas are likely to occur in low densities in the mine project area."
Mr McPaul added that Regis has purchased Aziel, a property near Blayney containing large areas of native vegetation for a future stewardship site.
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"The property is approximately 388 hectares and contains favourable habitat for koalas, including Box Gum Woodland," he said.
"Regis plans to secure the property under a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust."
However Mr Selmes said that the habitat loss was permanent and offsets are not the solution.
"You can't offset a loss. It's not a bank where you keep taking and taking," he said.
"If you have koala habitat and you're saying we'll offset it by keeping something else, by destroying this, you're still destroyed something."
Mr Selmes is a member of Roslyn Landcare Group near Crookwell, and Goulburn Field Naturalists. He has served on the executive of the NSW Nature Conservation Council. He is involved with the Wilderness Society and has organised information sessions with the Environmental Defenders Office.
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