The Centre for Conservation Geography analysed the extent of mining and exploration leases across the region and identified a 500 per cent increase in mining activity in the past decade. It also found current and proposed mines in the Kimberley are threatening
80 per cent of the area's rivers, wetlands and flood plains.
Rupert Quinlan from the Pew Environment Group, which commissioned the study, says the findings are significant because of the detrimental impacts mining can have on the environment. "What we're seeing is that mining doesn't have boundaries, mining can occur anywhere under the current legislation," he said. Mr Quinlan says the State Government needs to implement a regional plan to protect areas of environmental significance.
Map showing Kimberley mining leases and exploration, November 2012