Timeline summary by Sydney Morning Herald

Series of errors by the CSIRO has placed the world’s largest collection of indigenous rock art at risk

The Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia has more than one million rock art engravings. These are distributed over more than 100 square kilometres, some dating back more than 30,000 years. It includes the oldest existing representation of a human face on Earth, images of extinct megafauna and a thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, which roamed the Pilbara region thousands of years ago.

The CSIRO admitted it had never undertaken any assessment of the capacity of the Burrup rocks to cope with acid deposition from industry.

Without doing such testing it nonetheless advised the WA government and industry that “acid deposition to the Burrup area is unlikely to cause any deleterious effects to rock or rock art on the Burrup peninsula”.