Mineral Resources (MRL) is focused on developing, implementing and improving our environmental management systems that ensure we continue identifying and managing risks and opportunities at all stages of our operations.
We operate in environments that are home to unique flora species, many protected by environmental regulations, which means land management and rehabilitation are vital for productive and sustainable post-mining ecosystems.
Our Environment team also works closely with industry, governments and local researchers and scientists to protect and conserve the environment and ecology near our operations.
Collaborating with Curtin University for environmental DNA research
MRL recently engaged research partner Curtin University to carry out an environmental DNA (eDNA) baseline assessment to better understand the dynamic of plant-pollinator interactions in functional ecosystem ecology.
Assessments are investigating how recent advances in eDNA can provide the industry with more robust measurement techniques to define rehabilitation success, and offer greater assurances to regulators and future land users or managers.
Curtin University carried out two field surveys within the Yilgarn region in FY21, collecting flowers and pollen samples while monitoring plant-pollinator interactions via camera-trapping and traditional monitoring techniques.
During the first half of FY22, Curtin University will carry out laboratory experiments using eDNA metabarcoding to determine specific eDNA traces of insects and birds left on pollen and flowers.
This will assist a more accurate and timely understanding of plant-pollinator interactions, while also helping to develop a comprehensive library of birds and insects visiting flowers in the region.
Tetratheca cultivation with Kings Park Science
We are also involved in a Kings Park Science research program that focuses on seed biology, translocation and monitoring, and plant function in supporting our commitment to building diverse, mature and self-sustaining flora populations where we operate.
In the Yilgarn region, this includes the conservation of Tetratheca erubescens, a rare shrub found in the Koolyanobbing Range near our iron ore operations.
As part of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Kings Park Science boasts a dedicated team of scientists making significant contributions to biodiversity and conservation across Australia and overseas.
We’re working with them to investigate the seed ecology of multiple Tetratheca species across different ecosystems to determine the comparative germination responses of these endemic and geographically separated sister species.
Data gathered from this regional work aims to significantly improve understanding of the species group and, more importantly, opportunities for future conservation and translocation.
Around 2,000 Tetratheca secies have already been successfully cultivated to support the development of a viable population for use in future translocation efforts.
Our environmental focus
Environmental management is essential to our operations and we partner with experts to help mitigate risk and identify management strategies to ensure our operations avoid unacceptable environmental impacts.
We regularly monitor our compliance with licences and permits, through internal environmental audits as well as those conducted by regulatory authorities and other third parties.
More information on MRL’s environmental initiatives is available in our 2021 Sustainability Report.