Mrs Irwin, the wife of the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, has campaigned for environmental protection of the Cape York site, collecting about 250k signatures opposing a proposed bauxite mine that would be built between 5 and 15km from the Wenlock River.

Cape Alumina’s proposed Pisolite Hills mine would also take in 135ha of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.

Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said there already were tenements for mineral exploration over part of the property and adjoining lands when it was bought by Irwin company Silverback Pty Ltd after Steve Irwin’s death in 2006.

The mining applications are being assessed by the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the most rigorous assessment process available. The Queensland government will make a decision on whether or not mining should proceed after its consideration of the EIS.

Cape Alumina’s managing director Paul Messenger said the company had no plans to mine any wetlands, rivers, springs or areas of high conservation value, and the Wenlock River would be fully protected under its operational and environmental management plans.

Cape Alumina expects to complete the EIS by the first half of 2010 and to be in a position to start construction in 2012, subject to studies and approvals.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald 30 December 2009