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World Biodiversity Day

22 MAY 2021

Protecting ecosystems and minimising biodiversity impacts where we operate

On World Biodiversity Day, we’re showcasing some of the important work our teams around the world are doing to protect ecosystems and minimise biodiversity impacts where we operate. 

Protecting unique Groote Eylandt – GEMCO, Australia

On Groote Eylandt in Australia’s Northern Territory, the home of our GEMCO operation, particular care is needed to protect the island’s unique biodiversity values. It’s free from many threatening species found on mainland Australia, like cane toads, which have caused widespread ecological devastation in the country. While the focus of GEMCO’s biosecurity and quarantine program is cane toad management, it also works to prevent threats like domestic and feral cats and invasive weed or grass species. 

Edna the sniffer dog, Groote Eylandt

An integral part of the program is our partnership with the Anindilyakwa Land Council and the ALC Land and Sea Rangers, where we fund a Quarantine and Biosecurity Officer who manages a professionally trained sniffer dog, Edna. Edna inspects high-risk freight, vehicles and materials entering Groote Eylandt for our GEMCO operation, as well as community freight delivery and sea transport services.  

Bird and forest conservation – Cerro Matoso, Colombia 

Colombia has the greatest diversity of bird species in the world, making up around 20 per cent of all birds globally. At our Cerro Matoso operation (CMSA), the surrounding forests are home to more than 300 different species, with many classified as ‘threatened’. 

Biodiversity Colombia

To protect and maintain these populations, CMSA plants thousands of native trees every year. More than 60,000 were planted last year as the team continually adds to the 1000 hectares of conserved forests around the operation. CMSA has also implemented a program where our people act as voluntary observers, registering photos of their biodiversity sightings via on online platform. Since the program’s launch last year, more than 320 observations have been registered.  

A world biodiversity hotspot – Worsley Alumina, Australia  

The South West of Western Australia is one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots. Over half of the region’s 6000 plant species can't be found anywhere else, and it’s home to a number of threatened flora and fauna species, including the ChuditchWoylieCarnaby’s Black CockatooQuokkaWestern Ring-tailed Possum and the Numbat. 

Operating in such an important part of the world, our Worsley Alumina operation supports a number of programs and initiatives to maintain and improve the region’s biodiversity values. Some of these include:

  • Establishing the South-West Biodiversity Partnership – a collaborative industry partnership raising the profile and improving biodiversity values in the region; 
  • Supporting research on threatened species like the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo; 
  • Industry best-practice progressive rehabilitation – encouraging the return of local biodiversity values after mining; and 
  • Managing the spread of Dieback – a plant pathogen that can cause disease, death and potential extinction in susceptible plants, and loss of habitat for animals. 

 Worsley Black Cockatoo release 

Learning more about our approach to biodiversity here and in our Sustainable Development Report