Dr Stephane Hoerle, a world renown rock art scientist has written to Minister Dawson regarding the potential destruction of the Burrup rock art.
‘I am astonished to learn of the recent decision by the Government of Western Australia to encourage further industrial development in the Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula). For years, concerns have been raised internationally about how excessive industrialisation on this small peninsula was destroying rock art sites that, irrefutably, count among the world’s most valuable shared heritage.
‘Continuing industrialisation and lack of emissions control are deliberate acts by Government, which unfortunately makes the Burrup rock art one of the most famous archaeological site in the world to be knowingly destroyed.
‘The huge increase in surface acidity and dissolution of the mineral crust through industrial emissions has been known since MacLeod published his paper in 2005. Ignoring this science, I consider is comparable to the deliberate destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Endorsement of actions that will further damage to the petroglyphs on the Burrup Peninsula is outrageous.
‘I am a chemical engineer and materials scientist. I have been studying the preservation of rock art for the last 20 years and have gained a deep understanding of the mechanisms associated with the impacts of pollutants on rock surfaces. I have studied the chemical processes affecting rock art decay in the Lascaux caves in France for the International Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Lascaux. I have also studies decay of open-air rock art sites in South Africa and other parts of the world.’