Greening mine site landscapes

3 August 2017

Sunday 30 July was National Tree Day and a chance to recognise the importance of native trees in progressive mine site rehabilitation.

More than a decade ago, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) recognised that long term care, maintenance and revegetation of disturbed areas at the Jabiluka Mineral Lease in the Northern Territory, would need to be based on strategic collaborations, research and local knowledge.

ERA is committed to delivering world class environmental management practices and the correct selection of trees and plants is a key part of this.

The trees ERA plants as part of the progressive rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area and the Jabiluka Mineral Lease have an important role in providing fresh clean air, storing carbon, restoring biodiversity, and providing future habitat for wildlife.

It is also important to ensure tree selection is culturally appropriate as both the Jabiluka mine lease and Ranger Project Area are located on Aboriginal land surrounded by, but separate from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and hold important connections for the traditional owners of the region.

ERA have provided assurances to our stakeholders including the Mirarr people that rehabilitation will restore the environment consistent with the surrounding park and we have a team of world class rehabilitation and local experts helping us to keep that promise.

A partnership with local indigenous supplier Kakadu Native Plants Pty Ltd was formed in 2005 to locally propagate seeds collected with a permit from within Kakadu National Park. By raising saplings from local seeds the species had already proven themselves able to adapt and thrive in the unique Northern Territory landscape.

Over thousands of years these native tree species have evolved to adapt to the unique seasons of Kakadu from the monsoon in the wet season, fire in the dry, through to six months with no rain at all.

In consultation with the Mirarr people, more than 16,000 tube stock were planted at Jabiluka between 2005 and 2015, from 22 different native species including, Acacia, Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Terminalia.

ERA continues to undertake research and monitor the progression of the rehabilitation, learning from and adapting techniques. The monitoring has demonstrated resilience, good survival rates, and the return of other native flora and fauna.

ERA’s long-term vision is to return the disturbed area to a viable ecosystem in line with its obligations to stakeholders and regulators, and the expectations of the community.