Australia’s Biodiversity series – Part 11: Mining
Dolphin conservation is carried out to offset impacts of infrastructure development in Darwin Harbour. Image: Carol Palmer
Many people worry about the environmental impacts of mining, but as a society we have a growing demand for its products. Most Australian’s consider it worthwhile and a valuable industry for the nation’s prosperity, as our recent national survey indicates.
The direct impacts of mining on biodiversity are relatively limited compared with other major land uses—less than 1% of the Australian land area is used for mining, while 62% is used for agriculture for example.
The greatest threats to biodiversity from mining come from the cumulative impacts of the infrastructure required for mining operations—roads, ports, pipelines, shipping etc. Science can help to assess any potential implications for biodiversity from mining development so that impacts can be better managed and rehabilitation and offsetting efforts can be more effective.
In the eleventh video of our Australia’s Biodiversity series, Dr Alan Andersen talks about the main impacts of mining on biodiversity and how these can be appropriately managed through processes like strategic regional assessments, use of bioindicators in rehabilitation, and biodiversity offsets:
To find out more about mining and biodiversity in Australia, you might like to read the corresponding chapter of CSIRO’s Biodiversity Book.
Last week’s video looked at the biodiversity in our inland water systems and how our approach to water management impacts ecosystem health. You can review it and the other videos in the series on our YouTube channel.