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Western Australia

Subterranean Ecology has undertaken many stygofauna projects throughout Western Australia including more than 30 projects for BHP Billiton, for example:

  • Yeelirrie Uranium Project
  • BHP Billiton Pilbara Regional Subterranean Fauna Survey
  • Compliance Monitoring for EPA Ministerial Approval Conditions
  • Goldsworthy Extension Project
Diving Beetle

BHP Billiton Yeelirrie Uranium Project

For BHP Billiton’s environmentally challenging Yeelirrie Uranium Project located in the Northern Goldfields of Western Australia, Subterranean Ecology completed one of the most intensive subterranean fauna surveys (stygofauna & troglofauna) ever undertaken in a calcrete aquifer. The Yeelirrie Uranium Project is currently still in process with BHP Billiton (November 2011).

BHP Billiton Pilbara Regional Subterranean Fauna Survey

Subterranean Ecology was commissioned by BHP Billiton to complete its Regional Subterranean Fauna Survey across all its northern Pilbara tenements.

This extensive survey completed in 2011 collected more than 5,000 samples and more than 30,000 specimens.

This survey has provided a regional-scale context and understanding of species distributions which has enabled a strategic approach to assessment of mining impacts and conservation of biodiversity.

The survey confirmed that a majority of species have distribution ranges greater than the impact area of most mine sites, however a proportion of species are nonetheless restricted to a narrowly delimited range.

Ore Train
Technical Field Services

BHP Billiton Compliance Monitoring

Subterranean Ecology was commissioned to undertake BHP Billiton’s compliance monitoring commitments at four of its Pilbara mine sites (Newman, Yandi, Goldsworthy, Mining Area C). 

The monitoring of stygofauna and groundwater quality at these sites is required as part of the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority’s (OEPA) Ministerial Statements of Approval Conditions for mining.

The purpose of the monitoring is to ensure that mining and mine dewatering do not cause adverse impacts to stygofauna species and communities.

BHP Billiton Goldsworthy Extension Project

Subterranean Ecology undertook the subterranean fauna survey and assessment for BHP Billiton’s Goldsworthy Extension Project in the Pilbara which included Cattle Gorge and the Cundaline & Callawa Mining Operations, the latter project assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority and Public Environmental Review (PER). 

The field survey identified a high diversity of subterranean species,  including potential short range endemic (SRE) species initially collected from inside the proposed mine impact areas.

Subterranean Ecology’s survey and habitat assessment concluded that all of the potential SRE species were likely to occur outside the mine impact area, and that no species would be placed at risk from mining.

Subterranean Ecology’s assessment withstood the PER process and was supported in the Environmental Protection Authority’s approval for the mining operation.