By Geoff Evans
DENMARK, WA — The state government may soon do a deal with the mining company Cable Sands (a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's largest chemical company, Nisshio Iwai) over D'Entrecasteaux National Park.
Three hundred and eight-six hectares of pristine wilderness A Class Reserve is to be excised from the park to allow mining to take place. In return, 1000 ha of degraded former farmland owned by Cable Sands is to be added to the park as a C Class Reserve. The excision is part of the Reserves Bill 1995 which is on notice for consideration by State Parliament.
D'Entrecasteaux National Park lies south of Manjimup. It stretches along 130 km of the coast, covering 118,000 hectares. The park is magnificent, with numerous lakes, extensive woodlands, granite outcrops, sandy swamp and wetlands, and a coastline with limestone cliffs and vast untouched sandy beaches.
The Australian Heritage Commission has placed D'Entrecasteaux on the Register of the National Estate. The area proposed for excision includes part of the catchment of Lake Jasper, the largest freshwater lake in Western Australia. It is the only known underwater Aboriginal archaeological site in Australia. The lake system is a biological reservoir for native freshwater fish while the associated wetland habitat contains several rare plant and protected bird species.
The lake will be threatened by mining operations only 300 m from its edge. Siltation, pollution and chemical spills, and changes to the water table are all potential hazards both for the wildlife and the integrity of the archaeological interest. The vegetation around Lake Jasper is at risk of infection by dieback disease. Mining and associated road building are proven distributors of dieback.
Concerned people all over the south-west are incensed at the way letters, faxes, representations, petitions, public meetings and numerous submissions over the last seven years have been ignored. We care about our beautiful land and will not idly stand by and allow this rampant vandalism to occur.