Curtin University partners with Polaris Metals to improve mining enviromental studies

Curtin University has partnered with Polaris Metals to improve the effectiveness of biodiversity data gathered in mining studies.

The University’s Environmental Biology Group will work with Polaris, the subsidiary of miner Mineral Resources, to better develop an understanding of south western Australia’s Yilgarn region and improve the data gathered for Polaris’ mining proposals.

Led by associate professor Grant Wardell-Johnson, of Curtin’s Department of Environment and Agriculture, it will “combine quality biodiversity data gathered onsite over several years with associated environmental and LiDAR data from the region,” Curtin said.

“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.

“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.”

According to Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison, it is in aid of the miner’s EPA assessment process, with Ellison adding that Mineral Resources is “a strong supporter of proper environmental management, believing mining can co-exist with the environment”.

The project began late last month, with results slated for February next year.

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