Claims rare frog has been found near mine site

THE purported discovery of a rare frog should stop the proposed Fingerboards mineral sands minds from going ahead, opponents claim.
Volunteer researcher Brendan Casey says he has recorded multiple call events of the Giant Burrowing Frog (Heleioporus australiacus) on private land near the Fingerboards at Glenaladale.
The frog is listed as vulnerable to extinction within the federal Environment Biodiversity Conservation Act, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
The Fingerboards is the site of the proposed Kalbar mineral sands mine which will cover more than 2000 hectares of private and public land.
“A population of Giant Burrowing Frogs at Glenaladale is now confirmed at the Fingerboards location and Kalbar does not consider the species exists within the proposed mine area, which
includes all of the Fingerboards,” Mr Casey said.
In May last year, Mr Casey said he recorded the calls of the Giant Burrowing Frog at Stoney Creek, near the Mitchell River National Park, less than 10 kilometres from the proposed mine area.
Having developed an interest in the species in the area, he reviewed the Environmental Effects Statement to see the method used to determine if the frog was present in the area.
Mr Casey said he believed the proponents did not make adequate efforts to try to find the frog.
In October last year, with the cooperation of landholders in the proposed mine area, a network of automated acoustic recorders were established.
Volunteer researchers claim from April 6 to 8, the calls of the Giant Burrowing Frog were heard from one of the monitoring locations.
Mr Casey said both his earlier research at Stoney Creek and the Fingerboards recordings were significant, as both sites were surrounded by cleared, grazing country.
Little is known about the frog’s ecology and distribution, and it has an advisory listing of critically endangered in Victoria.
In 2020, a Giant Burrowing Frog was accidentally disturbed near Moulin Creek in Glenaladale by a farmer cutting firewood.
Mr Casey said it was important long term monitoring for this difficult-to-detect and highly cryptic species of frog be undertaken across the entire proposed mining and infrastructure site before the mine proceeded.
The findings of the acoustic monitoring research were presented to the Inquiry and Advisory Committee Panel at the EES hearing for the Fingerboards Mineral Sands project.
Closing statements are expected to be made on next Thursday, July 22, before the inquiry and advisory committee has eight weeks to submit its report to state Planning Minister Richard Wynne.