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Biodiversity & mining in the Yilgarn region

01 - Biodiversity & Mining In The Yilgarn Region

[hr]Curtin University’s Environmental Biology Group has partnered with Polaris Metals, a subsidiary of Mineral Resources, to develop an understanding of the relationship between biodiversity and the environment in the Yilgarn region of south-western Australia.[hr]

The partnership, led by Associate Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson, of Curtin’s Department of Environment and Agriculture, has appointed Research Fellow Giovanni Di Virgilio to undertake the research, which will improve the effectiveness of biodiversity data gathered for Polaris’ mining proposals.

Dr Wardell-Johnson said the opportunity to combine quality biodiversity data gathered onsite over several years with associated environmental and Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) data from the region, would provide information beneficial to the State, to the mining industry in general, and to Polaris in particular.

“The high-level of mining interest and the conservation significance in this region, paired with increased scrutiny of mining proposals and planning means this data is particularly valuable in developing an understanding of the region,” Dr Wardell-Johnson said.

“The research will provide predictive models and maps of flora and vegetation in the region in relation to the environment, informing environmental assessments which rely on the portrayal of spatially explicit data.

“This will help the mining industry speed up the assessment process, while understanding the relationship between the patterns of extraordinarily rich flora in the area and appropriate future rehabilitation.”

Mineral Resources has referred the J5 and Bungalbin East projects, located within the Helena and Aurora Conservation Park to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), for Environmental Impact Assessment.

Mineral Resources Managing Director Chris Ellison said, “Mineral Resources embraces the EPA assessment process and is a strong supporter of proper environmental management, believing mining can co-exist with the environment, delivering jobs and economic benefits to WA.”

“By increasing the lifetime of mining in the Yilgarn it will generate 1500 full time equivalent positions comprised of direct and flow-on employment in the construction phase alone.”

Through initiatives such as this partnership with Curtin, the company is at the forefront developing new procedures to help position the company as an industry leader in environmental management.

The research project has commenced this month, with Research Fellow Giovanni Di Virgilio reviewing the data. Results are expected by February 2015, with subsequent publication in peer-reviewed journals.


“This will help the mining industry speed up the assessment process, while understanding the relationship between the patterns of extraordinarily rich flora in the area and appropriate future rehabilitation.”


ABOUT
MINERAL RESOURCES IN THE YILGARN
Mineral Resources subsidiary Polaris Metals mines 5 million tonnes per annum from Carina mine, located 100 kilometres north east of Southern Cross, with ore exported through Kwinana Bulk Terminal at the Port of Fremantle.

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