Mining puts pressure on koala numbers

Mining developments are continuing to put pressure on central Queensland’s koala populations.

Researchers from Brisbane and central Queensland will today meet in Rockhampton to consider the future of the koala since it was last year added to the threatened species list.

CQ University scientist Alistair Melzer told the ABC the coal industry is affecting koala habitats.

"It's not so much the footprint of the mines themselves, although they do have an impact, it's [to] do really with the ongoing pressure of the infrastructure corridors," he said.

"We're seeing a relentless death of koalas along roadways and also increasing fragmentations of some of the remnant habitats there."

Earlier this year Australian Mining reported that increased mine traffic was to blame for a spike in the number of koala injuries and deaths last year.

But mining companies are stepping up to fund koala research as the government becomes increasingly reluctant to foot the bill, Melzer explained.

"Perhaps a whole-of-industry sector, partnering up with the community, but also in association with rural land holders in areas where there's no resource conflict involved," he said.

"Potential koala habitat, and the majority of koala habitat themselves, are in fact on private land, not in national parks.

Melzer said there are some very effective programs being funded by the mining industry at Clermont and Springsure, west of Rockhampton.

"Out around the Springsure area for instance, Xstrata Coal has provided a lot of support into developing koala habitat restoration approaches," he said.

"Government doesn't seem to have a lot of the resources to provide, to fund a lot of this work, so we're looking at community contracts where we work directly with the resource sector."

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