Rio proposes buffer zone for threatened crab

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Rio Tinto says it has plans to create a buffer zone around its expansion at the Cape York bauxite mine to protect a unique crab species.

Yesterday Rio submitted a second Environmental Impact Statement over its South of Embley project following an environmental study of the region that discovered the crab species.

According to Adelaide Now Rio Tinto bauxite president Pat Fiore said the company would "exceed regulatory requirements" to protect the crab.

The company’s buffer zone will surround the Winda Winda Creek where the crab was discovered.

But The Wilderness Society said the safeguards were not enough and Rio had "barely tinkered at the edges" of its initial EIS.

"If Rio is serious about protecting the crab, they should exclude the Winda Winda Creek catchment from mining," they said.

Scientists employed by Rio Tinto discovered the crab, which is around the size of a ten cent piece, late last year.

After making the discovery Rio said it was "pleased to have been able to make a contribution to understanding the ecology of the cape".

Rio has plans to begin construction of the expansions by the end of the year with production starting in 2015.

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