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Mining and Dieback
 
Each year, Alcoa’s mining operations move over six million cubic meters of soil.  Therefore, the risk of spreading P. cinnamomi (Pc) is high. Minimising the spread of the pathogen is one of the most important aims of Alcoa's environmental management program. Extensive dieback management procedures have been developed and implemented to reduce the risk of spreading Pc – from the initial establishment of mining operations through to the rehabilitation of mined areas.
 
Alcoa's dieback management procedures are integrated into the day to day and year to year working of the mines.  Some of the activities undertaken during mining operations include:
 
  • Mapping the presence of Phytophthora dieback throughout the mining envelope.  Dieback areas are marked in the forest and in future mining areas and grid co-ordinates and boundaries recorded.
  • Keeping Phytophthora infested and Phytophthora free soils separate in all stages of the mining and rehabilitation process.
  • Monitoring and auditing the spread of Phytophthora dieback from the mining areas regularly to ensure procedures are being applied and being effective.
  • Designing mine pits and haul roads to prevent water flowing into dieback-free forest.
  • Cleaning vehicles and machinery with high pressure water before they move from a dieback area into a dieback-free area.
 
All these procedure are documented, and all our employees are trained to undertake their jobs following these procedures.  We believe this ensures that we minimise the spread of Pc. Current data shows that the spread of Pc is only 0.0006 hectares for every one hectare we clear during mining, however by continually improving our procedures we hope to reduce this even further.
 


Vehicle passing through washdown

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A mine vehicle passing through an automatic dieback washdown unit, before entering the dieback-free haul road system at Huntly mine.

Person manually cleaning car.

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A vehicle being thoroughly cleaned by high pressure water before it enters a dieback-free area.