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Enviro assessments to benefit from biodiversity partnership

The partnership, which has been formed between Western Australia-based Curtin University’s environmental biology group and Mineral Resources’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Polaris Metals, will involve a study of the Yilgarn region of south-western Australia.

Associate professor Dr Grant Wardell-Johnson of Curtin’s department of environment and agriculture said the opportunity to combine quality biodiversity data gathered on-site 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,” Wardell-Johnson said. {{image2-A:R-w:250}}

“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 WA 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.”

The research project commenced in August and results are expected by February 2015.

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