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12/12 - Author's rally cry against mine

Author Jackie French has gone public with a desperate plea for information to save endangered species from the proposed Dargues Reef gold mine.

French, author of the children's book Diary of a Wombat, is putting together a submission to the Federal Environment Department on the impact of the planned mine.

She said she had just nine days to compile the submission and was frantically trying to track down academics or conservationists who had conducted research on rare and endangered creatures living in the Majors Creek gorge, near the proposed mine site.

''We need anyone who has studied in this area and so many academics and PhD students have ... from doing surveys of the endangered orchids, [to] the New Holland mouse. We simply don't have records of how to contact these people,'' she said.

''But also to anyone who can help us prepare a submission on the need to preserve the remnant rainforest in this area. But we've only got nine days to do it ... at the worst time of the year.''

French said many academics she had tried to contact were already away on Christmas holidays.

Mining company Cortona plans to construct a gold mine at Majors Creek near Braidwood, including a 25m tailings dam just 4km upstream from French's property in the Araluen Valley.

French fears that the mine's water demands will leave the valley parched and the tailings dam could poison the environment.

She said the Department of Environment had asked for public comment on the project by December 21.

''The area directly beneath the proposed Dargues Reef mine and turning centre is possibly the richest area in Australia for rare and endangered species,'' she said.

''The gorge is so deep it goes more than 300m top to bottom. It means there's a range of microclimates, so there are species here that don't exist anywhere else in the wild, from orchids to eucalypts.''

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