March 13, 2007 Past Issues No Comments

The Queensland Government is due to decide whether the Wenlock River in Cape York Peninsula should be declared a

The Wenlock River, Cape York. Photo © Glenn Walker

The Wenlock River, Cape York.
Photo © Glenn Walker

Wild River. The Wenlock River system is one of the original 19 rivers slated for declaration by the Queensland Government in 2004.

What you can do

Make a submission by 29 May 2009 supporting the declaration of the Wenlock River as a Wild River.

How to make a submission

You can make a submission by email or online

Why protect the Wenlock River?

  • The Wenlock, near Weipa, is one of the last remaining wild rivers in Queensland
  • The river is home to more than 50 fish species, more than any other Australian river.
  • The river contains good quality crocodile habitat
  • The river is currently threatened by bauxite mining (see box: The impacts of bauxite mining).
    • Cape Alumina plans to develop a bauxite mine on the river and dredge a channel near the river mouth at Port Musgrave to build a port for bulk carriers. This mine will impact on a local large wildlife reserve.
    • Rio Tinto already owns rights to 80% of the river’s water and it has the right to build dams on the river without the normal environmental approvals.

What Wild River declaration achieves

  • Wild River declaration will give greater protection from mining, dams and irrigated agriculture.
  • Wild river declaration will assist in capping the amount of water that can be taken from the catchment.
  • Wild River declaration does not prevent sustainable and/or environmentally and culturally appropriate development along the river system.

The impacts of mining bauxite

Bauxite is a mineral central to the manufacture of aluminium. The open pit style of mining bauxite has devastating impacts on the local environment, including river systems: forest destruction, erosion, and changes to natural flows in river systems including waterholes, springs and streams.

The water requirements for bauxite mining are huge so unsustainable amounts of water will be extracted from nearby rivers. The associated infrastructure for bauxite mining, such as roads and ports, impacts on terrestrial and marine environments.

What we want

  1. Wild River Declaration
  2. No exemptions to mining companies within the Wild River Declaration or Wild Rivers Code
  3. To stop the Cape Alumina Mine and channel in Port Musgrave

What WPSQ is doing

Wildlife Queensland has supported the Wild Rivers campaign since its inception in 2000. The protection of entire river systems before they are degraded or compromised is an important environmental concept.
A draft protection proposal has been released but the proposal needs to be supported. Wildlife Queensland will make a submission supporting the nomination of the Wenlock River system for declaration as a wild river asking for:
Read more about our support for Wild Rivers

For more information on WPSQ’s campaigns, email or phone +61 (7) 3221 0194.

Written by Wildlifeqld