Whitehaven’s rehabilitation efforts at the historic Brickworks open-cut mine site are paying off, with a healthy koala spotted using the koala corridor planted by Whitehaven about 12 years ago.
Trevor Jones, an Environmental Field Officer with Whitehaven, helped plant the corridor back in 2010 and says it’s gratifying to see the team’s hard work pay off.
“We spent hours planting and tending the corridor and to see a koala using it is really pleasing.
“The nature of biodiversity work means it can take years from the point of planting to eventually develop enough to attract wildlife – it takes time but we actually do make a difference,” he said.
Olivia Hulbert, Whitehaven’s Rehabilitation & Closed Mines Officer, who has been working on rehabilitation efforts in the last year at the site says sighting a koala in the corridor is significant for a number of reasons.
“Drought and disease have seen a decline in the local koala population over the past decades.
“Seeing a healthy koala inhabiting one of our planted trees at Brickworks proves that the koala corridor is doing its job providing safe haven and nourishment for native wildlife as they travel from one patch of vegetation to another.
“It also indicates our rehabilitation efforts are of a high standard as the area becomes a self-sustaining ecosystem comparable with surrounding vegetation,” she said.
Brickworks is part of the former Gunnedah Colliery which operated for over 100 years until closure in September 2000. In 2005 Whitehaven acquired the mining lease for the area as part of the purchase of Namoi Mining and took on responsibility for rehabilitation of the disused site. The site is being rehabilitated into pasture for grazing, with a native vegetation corridor.