February 19, 2004 - '6500 animals have died so far in a trench being dug for the Newcrest Port Hedland to Telfer Gas pipeline. Is this acceptable? NO. Are any further deaths acceptable? NO!' an emphatic, Mr Chapple stated today.

'The loss of any animals in this day and age, in any industrial or mining development is a total disaster', stated Robin Chapple, Greens MLC for the Mining and Pastoral Region.

'There is an open trench, some 55 km long, currently extending from near Goldsworthy to Shay Gap, part of the Newcrest's Port Hedland to Telfer gas pipeline.

This structure is acting like a Giant Pit Trap, said Mr Chapple. Trapping and killing thousands of animals. The Company should not have been allowed to construct an open trench of this magnitude for this sort of project. I hold the Minister totally responsible for this unmitigated disaster.'

Mr Chapple, having just overflown the trench, is concerned that the requirement to fill in the trench ahead of recent cyclone may not have occurred.

'Newcrest have blatantly ignored their own recommendations, said Mr Chapple. I can see no way that they could have followed their own Environmental Management Practices and yet had this outcome'

'Quite frankly, the DEP's estimation of 6500 animals lost in the past 6 weeks is probably a vast understatement! My understanding is that Mulgaras, which are considered threatened under the EPBC Act, have also perished in these open trenches,' The Greens MLC, stated.

'I will be asking the Minister for a full breakdown, on a day to day basis, of animal mortality and which animals have died and are dying, and on what days. I will be seeking a full indication of the level of staffing to handle animal extraction'

'I call on the Minister to either have the trench infilled or ensure that staffing levels in monitoring this trench are adequate to prevent any further mortality of any more animals,' said Mr Chapple.

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