Melbourne, May 12 : Crocodile hunter Steve Irwin's widow Terry has pledged to fight a mining company's efforts to mine bauxite at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
She was talking about the company Cape Alumina, which has lodged a mining lease application for the environmentally sensitive reserve dedicated to Steve.
The area, which encroaches on the 135,000ha Bertiehaugh Cattle Station, was purchased by an Irwin family company on the back of a Federal Government grant after Steve's tragic demise in 2006.
Terri said that the area was home to rare and threatened plant and animal species that must be protected.
"We have found a number of plant species which are very vulnerable, but the surprising thing is, there have been some four plant species which have never been recorded on western Cape York," the Australian quoted her as telling ABC radio.
"That's just remarkable and, of course, there's rare bird species, the spear-tooth shark, sawfish, and estuarine crocodiles," she added.
Cape Alumina chief executive Paul Messenger said that the company's environment consultants had indicated the area to be mined is "not of concern" because the project would affect just 200 hectares of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.
"We have no plans to develop in sensitive wetland areas of Cape York. Our project is very much centred on a dry bauxite plateau," Messenger said.
Queensland Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara said the views of both sides would be considered when the environmental impact statements (EIS) are undertaken later this year and in 2009.
"Cape York's a difficult area for balancing these things, and I think that, with good sense on both sides, we can have those resources mined but also look after the values that are there," he said.
Terri hinted that she could even take the matter to court.
"Setting aside this land will not break the bank for Cape Alumina, and yet it would make such a huge difference environmentally," she said.
"So we're going to plead our case and I can't imagine the situation couldn't be resolved because it's just a kind of a lay-down misere (a dead certainty) that this particular area needs to be protected," she added.