Our environment is an essential aspect of our Zero Harm approach. We are committed to caring for our environment and protecting the biodiversity of our region.
Our region is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including some protected species. We have secured 350 hectares of habitat to serve as a biodiversity offset, and regularly survey populations of flora and fauna on our mining lease to ensure protected populations thrive.
Our offset property, “Kokoda” is dedicated to the conservation and enhanced biodiversity of species existing in the region.
We are creating native vegetation and fauna habitat by rehabilitating the area. This involves assisting natural regeneration, targeted vegetation establishment and the introduction of naturally scarce fauna habitat features.
In addition to the offset property, we ensure our activities have minimal impact on protected species. For example, when tree clearing is required on the Northparkes mining lease, we ensure fauna are able to leave trees uninjured by following a recognised process supervised by our onsite ecologist.
Felled trees from the construction of our Rosedale Tailings Storage Facility were repurposed in partnership with the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries.
The trees – known as snags once they are submerged in the water – became habitat for Murray Cod, which require complex habitat such as rocks and snags to thrive. In addition to creating habitat, the snags have the added benefit of armouring the banks of the Macquarie River against further erosion.
Environmental monitoring plays a critical role in determining any potential impact Northparkes has on the surrounding environment.
We regularly sample air quality at key locations on and adjacent to our mine site. The program is designed to determine the effectiveness of control measures and ensure we are compliant with consent and licence conditions. The program comprises a combination of high volume air samplers (PM10) and depositional dust gauges.
Our long-term dust mitigation strategy of growing crops on our Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs) has been a resounding success. Growing crops directly on a TSF without topsoil is an industry first; the project was recognised as a finalist for Environmental Excellence the NSW Mining Health, Safety, Environment and Community Conference.
Noise monitoring is conducted quarterly by an external specialist who monitors and analyses noise data at four of our closest neighbouring properties. Noise levels must comply with the requirements set out in our Project Approval, and associated standards and policies. Noise monitoring comprises a combination of real-time (unattended) monitoring and attended noise surveys.
Around 55 per cent of the water used at Northparkes is recycled. Its main use is to process crushed ore into copper concentrate. We manage our water use through an internal infrastructure system aiming to:
- Ensure a reliable and sustainable long-term supply of water to site
- Minimise fresh water use by recycling water from mining and processing activities
- Monitor surface and groundwater resources to assess the impact of our operations.
Northparkes currently does not undertake any surface blasting activities.
We are proud to be a farmer and a miner. For over 20 years we have been working on techniques to improve farming which are sustainable and appropriate to both our operations and those of our neighbours.
We have extensive cropping operations in the Parkes and Forbes Shires, and employ a dedicated agronomist to oversee our farms. We use best practice conservation farming techniques aimed at improving soil quality and productivity to retain and improve the property’s agricultural value.
Our current farming projects include herbicide resistance strategies using an EMAR chaff deck to help manage ryegrass weed seed populations at harvest. We are also trialling Nitrohumus on both our farms and the crops growing on our Tailings Storage Facilities.
Our 2016 planting has seen 3640Ha of crop sown, consisting of 27% canola, 20% wheat, 27% barley, and 26% field pea.