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OZ Minerals
Sustainability Report
2010

Environmental
performance

Land management
and biodiversity

Water testing at Prominent Hill
 

Water-holding frog, found at Prominent Hill

Land Management

At Prominent Hill, we have a mining lease and exploration tenements. The total tenement area owned by OZ Minerals is 400,000 hectares1, which includes a mine footprint of 3,607 hectares. In 2010, 400 hectares were disturbed for both mining and exploration purposes, while 4 hectares were rehabilitated. Unseasonable wet weather has slowed some areas of rehabilitation but has assisted growth in previously rehabilitated areas. High rainfall events at Prominent Hill during the year have enabled stream sediment and catchment sampling which will be used to detect potential mine runoff.

We have exploration tenements of approximately 350,000 hectares in Cobar, New South Wales and 95,000 hectares in Cambodia.

Biodiversity

An understanding of the potential to impact upon habitats is critical in order to manage and minimise impacts. Furthermore, there can be opportunities to contribute to the conservation of species and ecosystems. The OZ Minerals Biodiversity Management Standard requires the management of biodiversity and minimisation of adverse impacts on flora and fauna throughout the mine life cycle.

Prominent Hill

The Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) offset area involves the ongoing protection and management of 11,000 hectares of land within the Mount Eba Pastoral Lease. Through management of the SEB offset area, OZ Minerals aims to protect and enhance habitat for the chestnut-breasted whiteface and thick-billed grasswren (eastern subspecies). The thick-billed grasswren is nationally vulnerable, while the chestnut-breasted whiteface is classified as rare within South Australia. Both of these species are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature‚Äôs (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

After first being identified in 2006, Prominent Hill has continued to record these species in surveys. Monitoring is undertaken bi-annually to check the populations and sightings of these species are documented for spring and autumn each year. The SEB offset area will also protect a portion of Breakaway habitat.

Continuing high rainfall saw the highest abundance and diversity of floral species during the autumn period to date. Two small mammal species, the sandy inland mouse and the Spinifex hopping mouse, were recorded for the first time in the SEB offset area.

In 2010, all existing flora, fauna and SEB management plans have been amalgamated into the Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP). This will streamline our environmental management plans, giving a cohesive and coordinated approach to land management.

Cambodia exploration

OZ Minerals is currently undertaking exploration in Cambodia in the Mondulkiri Province. This area is located within the outer boundaries of the Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary. A group of unlicensed miners have been working in this same region for four years. Very few of these people are from Mondulkiri Province and are regarded as ‘artisanal influx2’ miners as they have recently migrated to the area. Artisanal miners are usually small-scale miners that use rudimentary methods to conduct their activities.

The Cambodian Government indicated its desire to remove illegal mining, logging and poaching in this and other areas. Practices typically used in this type of small scale mining are dangerous and can cause significant environmental damage – cyanide is often used in an uncontrolled manner. The Government began a program to request these groups to leave the area in 2009. This was undertaken through a series of public meetings and notices. The government set three successive deadlines and by the end of 2010 most people left the area. Throughout the government’s process, OZ Minerals has regularly engaged with relevant authorities and advocated that the people involved are treated with respect and dignity.

1 Land size is reported in hectares (ha) instead of kilometres squared (km2) as this section refers to small parcels of land. 1 ha = 0.01 km2

2 As defined by the International Council on Mining and Metals, www.icmm.com/library

 

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