Restoring pre-mining biodiversity requires areas to be protected from erosion and for the original topsoil to be managed to retain its value as a seed source and growing medium.
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Sustainable mining operations protect and restore the biodiversity of the areas in which they are located.
Measures that are taken by companies to protect native species include:
- Pre and post mining flora and fauna surveys and ongoing monitoring;
- Provision of nurseries to propagate native plant species for use in rehabilitation;
- Relocation of plants growing in cleared areas;
- Establishment of reserves on other company-owned land;
- Leaving strips or islands of native vegetation within mining areas as wildlife reserves and corridors;
- Provision of financial and other aid to groups with an interest in conservation;
- Minimising unnecessary clearance;
- Reconstructing fauna habitats using rocks and logs taken from areas being cleared for mining;
- Providing fauna nesting boxes in rehabilitated areas;
- Faunal recolonisation.
Bauxite mining companies have well established biodiversity management plans, wherein the existing biome is mapped, operational and external impacts on biodiversity are assessed and opportunities to mitigate impacts or promote increased biodiversity are evaluated. Once this assessment has been carried out, targets are developed, strategies are implemented, regular monitoring is conducted and progress is documented and reported.
Most mining operations have set “no net loss”, “zero harm” or “net positive impact” policies; some have committed not to mine or explore in UN World Heritage Sites. Many work in partnerships with international organisations such as Conservation International, Fauna and Flora International, Earthwatch Institute and Birdlife International, as well as local NGOs and other stakeholders.