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Nilsson MA, Churakov G, Sommer M, Tran NV, Zemann A, Brosius J, et al. (2010) Tracking Marsupial Evolution Using Archaic Genomic Retroposon Insertions. PLoS Biol 8(7): e1000436. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000436, CC -BY, circle added
Image Nilsson et. al., 2010, Marsupial Mole circled.

Marsupial moles are a family (Notoryctidae) of cladotherian mammals of the order Notoryctemorphia. They are rare and poorly understood burrowing mammals of the deserts of Western Australia, with an ancestry going back 20 million years or so. Once classified as monotremes, they are now thought to be marsupialshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsupial_mole

Toro Energy submitted a referral to the WA and Federal Government in 2014 to include the Lake Maitland and Millipede deposits to the existing proposal to mine Lake Way and Centipede. The proposal is to now to mine 4 deposits across 2 lake systems.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Maitland

Toro Energy has released new plans to include a uranium mine at Lake Maitland and Millipede to the Wiluna uranium proposal. CCWA is calling on the EPA to re-assess the whole project incorporating plans for four mines across two lake systems – including 6.9 million litres of water a day and generating 50 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste – and to consider the impact of Toro’s other three deposits in the region which they hope to add to the Wiluna proposal.“. Read more here: http://antinuclear.net/2016/01/08/wiluna-lake-maitland-uranium-mine-proposals-toro-energys-uranium-plans-go-from-bad-to-worse/

The proposal is to mine four uranium deposits, Centipede, Millipede and Lake Way, on the Lake Way playa system south east of Wiluna and the Lake Maitland deposits on the Lake Maitland playa system. The project has been cut up and assessed as two projects – allowing the company to avoid doing full assessment of cumulative impacts from what is essentially an industrial uranium precinct incorporating at least four small uranium mines across two lake systems in a fragile desert ecosystem. The company has clear plans to incorporate more regional deposits – extending the impact and risk regionally.” – See more at: http://ccwa.org.au/wiluna

Public Environmental Review – Extension to the Wiluna Uranium Project
Runs from 16 Nov 2015 to 8 Feb 2016
Toro Energy Ltd is proposing to extend the Wiluna Uranium Project located approximately 960 km north-east of Perth in the Shire of Wiluna, Western Australia, to include the mining of two additional deposits known as Millipede (located adjacent to the Centipede deposit) and Lake Maitland (located 105 km south-east of Wiluna). The proposal includes the construction of a haul road to the previously assessed and approved processing plant at Centipede.

The Wiluna Uranium Project was the subject of EPA Assessment 1819 (EPA Report 1437). Following that assessment, the Western Australian Minister for Environment gave Toro approval in October 2012 (Ministerial Statement No. 913) to construct and operate a uranium mine consisting of two deposits, Centipede and Lake Way, respectively located approximately 30 kilometres (km) south and 15 km south-east of Wiluna.

The federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities also approved that proposal (EPBC 2009/5174) in April 2013. Toro has not yet commenced mining of the Centipede and Lake Way deposits.” More information; how to comment here:

JAURD and Itochu of Japan are Toro joint venture partners for the Lake Maitland uranium deposit. Japan Australia Uranium Resources Development Co, JAURD, is jointly owned by Kansai Electric Power, Kyushu Electric Power and Shikoku Electric Power, who operate nuclear power stations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Maitland

Excerpted from 1252 page Document:
2.1.8 What is the condition of the vegetation at the site?

At both Millipede and Lake Maitland, vegetation condition ranges from ‘excellent’ to ‘degraded’ with recorded degradation attributed to cattle, sheep, camel, kangaroo and rabbit grazing and disturbances from fire, vehicles and exploration activities.

2.2 Fauna

2.2.1 Do you expect that any fauna or fauna habitat will be impacted by the proposal?

(please tick) x Yes If yes, complete the rest of this section.

 No If no, go to the next section.

2.2.2 Describe the nature and extent of the expected impact.


Nine major terrestrial vertebrate fauna habitats have been delineated in the project area.

 Melaleuca Grove – low closed to open forest of Melaleuca xerophila on sandy soils. This habitat occurs as fringing vegetation, particularly on inflow areas, between the samphire flats of Lake Way and upslope vegetation units.

 Mulga over Spinifex – Mulga (Acacia aneura var aneura) low open woodland over a hummock grassland of Triodia melvillei (spinifex) with a scattered shrub layer on sandy soils. Over the survey area this community ranges in structure from hummock grassland with a few scattered emergents through to a low woodland with a 10% to 30% upper storey tree cover.

 Eucalypt Woodland – low open woodland of Eucalyptus striaticalyx subsp. striaticalyx over a low sparse to dense shrubland of Pittosporum phylliraeoides (“weeping pittosporum”), Eremophila spp., and Senna artemisioides subsp. Filifolia (“punty bush”) on loamy soils with deep leaf litter, logs and branches present.

 Mulga Woodland – low woodland of Mulga (Acacia aneura var aneura) over a low scrub of Senna artemisioides subsp filifolia and Eremophila spp. with an open low grass of Aristida contorta (“bunched kerosene grass”) and Enteropogon ramosus (“curly windmill grass”) on loamy soils with leaf litter, logs and branches present.

 Mallee over Spinifex – coppicing low open woodland of Eucalyptus eremicola subsp. peeneri over a hummock grassland of Triodia sp, with a scattered shrub layer of Grevillea sarissa subsp. Succinct, Acacia spp. and Eremophila spp on sandy soils.

 Woodland on Calcrete Flats – scattered Casuarina pauper over a low open scrub of Acacia tetragonophylla (“dead-finish” or “kurara”) and A. victoriae (“elegant wattle”) over very open herbs Sclerolaena bicornis (“goathead burr”) over very open low grass of Enneapogon caerulescens.

 Samphire Flats – low heath of Halosarcia spp. over a scattered low grassland of Eragrostis spp.


 Claypan – bare claypan that is intermittently inundated, surrounded by a thin zonation (<20 m) of fringing vegetation consisting of Eucalyptus camaldulensis (“red gum”) over a dense mixed shrub layer over a dense cover of grasses. At ground level leaf litter, logs and branches were present.

 Drainage Line / Floodplain – narrow drainage channel with an associated floodplain comprising a dense mixed shrubland of Acacia spp., Olearia stuartii (“rock daisy-bush” or “Stuart's daisy-bush”), Senna spp, and Grevillea sarissa subsp. succincta.

All habitats present over the areas surveyed are widely represented throughout the wider region and no critical habitat, World Heritage Properties, Ramsar Wetland Sites or Nationally Important Wetland sites occur in the Millipede locality.

Fauna surveys in the project area have recorded 31 mammals (20 native), 75 reptiles, 105 birds and 5 amphibians.

Stygofauna net samples from 104 drill holes across yielded 2,809 invertebrate specimens, of which 2,495 represented up to 50 stygofauna taxa. The Copepoda was the most abundant species group collected, with 1,416 samples representing more than half of the total collected.

Baseline subterranean fauna studies have shown that stygofauna occur in calcrete strata (or calcareous, non-cohesive sediments), but generally not in clayey sediments. The volume of calcrete to be removed as a result of mining would be a very minor proportion of the calcrete habitat available in the Lake Way playa area.

Lake Maitland

Nine broad fauna habitats have been identified at Lake Maitland and surrounding areas. With the exception of Kopi Dune, these habitats are widespread and common throughout the Murchison 1 bioregion.

 Lake Edge Spinifex: comprising almost exclusively of Bull Spinifex hummock grassland with some very low grasses and occasional low shrubs on sandy alluviums overlying calcretes. This habitat tends to occur as a band between the two calcrete habitats and the Samphire habitats

 Calcrete Plain: heavily grazed Wanderrie grasses on calcrete platforms with shallow red loam soils

 Kopi Dune: uncommon habitat in the landscape made up of dunes predominantly encrusted with gypsiferous sediments supporting large Eucalyptus species and a sparse understorey or Lawrensia helmsii

 Mallee Spinifex Sandplain: the vegetation typically comprises a low woodland of Mallee (Eucalyptus eremicola) and Mulga (Acacia aneura) with a low scrub laywer of Hakea preissii, Eremophila oldfieldii and Acacia ayersiana over Spinifex on deep red sandplains

 Mulga Woodland/Shrubland Plain: supports close to scattered Multa shrublands on loamy and hardpan plains. Characteristics vary depending upon elevation in the landscape. Lower lying areas tend to have an under storey dominated by chenopods. Open plains vary between unvegetated hardpan plains to variable cover by Wanderrie grasses or Spinifex grasses


 Samphire Flats: typified by three halophytic vegetation types that have different salinity substrate tolerances

 Spinifex Sandplain: extensive deep sandplains supporting Spinifex hummock grasslands with occasional sparse to scattered Eucalyptus species, Hakea species and Acacia sub species

 Shrubland on Sandplains: consisting of sandy banks or sandplains with deep earthy red sand supporting Lawrencia squamata and Lycium austral

 Claypan: devoid of vegetation but potential habitat for migratory shorebirds

Fauna surveys at Lake Maitland have identified 27 mammal species (of which 18 are native and nine introduced), 68 bird species and 44 reptile species.

Lake Maitland does not have a diverse or abundant stygofauna community compared with other areas in the Yilgarn such as Lake Way or Yarrabubba calcrete in the Murchison.

Baseline survey work has resulted in the following key findings relating to stygofauna:

 Approximately 500 specimens were collected at 50 sampling sites  Over all of the sites, within and outside the project area, the number of stygofauna caught was generally low, with the majority of sites yielding less than 10 stygofaunal specimens  At least half of the taxa recorded from the groundwaters of Lake Maitland have a known distribution outside the project area“. Thus as many as half do NOT have a known distribution outside of the project area.!

2.2.3 Are you aware of any recent fauna surveys carried out over the area to be disturbed by this proposal?

x Yes  No If yes, please attach a copy of any related survey reports and provide the date and name of persons / companies involved in the survey(s). Attachment 2.

If no, please do not arrange to have any biological surveys conducted prior to consulting with the DEC.


Fauna surveys were undertaken by Outback Ecology Services in 2008 and 2011.

Baseline Terrestrial Fauna Survey, Lake Way. Unpublished report prepared for Toro Energy Limited, May 2008. Outback Ecology Services, Western Australia.

Terrestrial Fauna Assessment. Unpublished report prepared for Toro Energy Limited, January 2011. Outback Ecology Services, Western Australia.

Lake Maitland

Fauna surveys were undertaken by Outback Ecology Services in 2009 and 2010.

Lake Maitland Endangered Threatened, p. 16 Uranium Mining
Lake Maitland Uranium Enviro Impact p. 17
Lake Maitland Uranium Enviro Impact p.18

Many more pages here: https://consultation.epa.wa.gov.au/seven-day-comment-on-referrals/extension-to-the-wiluna-uranium-project/supporting_documents/CMS14025%20%20Extension%20of%20Wiluna%20Uranium%20Mine%20%20Referral.pdf

Marsupial Image:
Citation: Nilsson MA, Churakov G, Sommer M, Tran NV, Zemann A, Brosius J, et al. (2010) Tracking Marsupial Evolution Using Archaic Genomic Retroposon Insertions. PLoS Biol 8(7): e1000436. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000436, CC-BY
The marsupial mole was circled in yellow by us.

Originally found through wikimedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phylogenetic_tree_of_marsupials_derived_from_retroposon_data_-_journal.pbio.1000436.g002.png
Original here: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1000436