part of the solution

finalist in WA environment awards
Alcoa, Greening Australia, and the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce have together secured a place as a finalist in the WA Environment Awards under the ‘Bush, Land and Waterways’ category for our “Nell’s Block” project.

“Nell’s Block” is a 16 hectare area of Alcoa owned land, near the Wagerup Refinery, five kilometres from the Western Australian south-west town Yarloop.  Along with our partners Greening Australia and the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce, we are realising our vision to rehabilitate the former pasture paddock to reserve status and returning it to the community.

Nell’s Block, which is primarily managed by the Alcoa Farmlands team, also recently received the WA Department of Environment and Conservation’s (DEC) Land For Wildlife (LFW) certification - which is recognition of three years of hard work by not only the three partners but local community volunteers and university researchers as well.
DEC Land For Wildlife field officer Heather Adamson said to qualify for LFW certification the landholder (in this case Alcoa) needed to consider it important to care about the future of the remnant vegetation - or lack of it, in “Nell’s Block’s” case.

“Nell’s co-ordinators were given 18 months ‘interim’ membership with LFW to commence on-ground rehabilitation, taking on recommendations offered by LFW to provide habitat for wildlife and their future survival,” said Heather.

“The response during that period has been overwhelming, with thousands of mixed flora species being planted and a wetland being created, to encourage frogs, reptiles, waterbirds, bushland birds and bandicoots. Large hollow logs have been brought on the block as an added very important habitat.

“Fungi spores have been included to assist with enriching the soil and as a food source for wildlife. Photographic monitoring is in place for future reference. The enthusiasm for such as project has been exceptional from everyone involved and will guarantee the success for the future and the future of our wildlife.”

Greening Australia’s Thelma Crook said: “This project has allowed us to involve a wide range of stakeholders such as universities, local experts, schools, volunteer groups and individual community members to trial and research restoration methodology that will assist us in recreating a living landscape.”

“It’s exciting watching ground birds and other animals return to the block and to hear the chorus of frogs at planting time.

milestone for alcoa rehabilitation
Alcoa of Australia has again demonstrated why it’s a world leader in mine site rehabilitation, after growing its one millionth plant in a state-of-the-art laboratory.
 
Manager of Mines, Bill Knight, said mine site rehabilitation was a complex and scientific process and some plant species, which need to be returned to the land during rehabilitation, needed a helping hand.
“There are several ways plants can be returned to rehabilitation, but some plant species do not produce viable seed, or if they do it is difficult to collect, and some don’t readily germinate - these are what we call ‘recalcitrant’ species and they need to be grown in a nursery in a process called ‘tissue culture”.

Alcoa’s Marrinup Nursery near Dwellingup, south of Perth, includes a tissue culture laboratory which has been successful in restoring a high diversity of plant species for mine site rehabilitation - no other mining company in the world has comparable facilities.

“Tissue culture is essentially growing plant shoots in a sterile, controlled, environment usually in sealed jars.  The plant shoots are grown on media which contains nutrients for plant growth; minerals, amino acids, vitamins, hormones, sugar and water – all set in a jelly called agar,” Mr Knight said.

“Every four weeks the plant material is divided and placed into fresh agar and within a few months thousands of plants can be produced.”
Mining Environmental Research Manger, Dr. Ian Colquhoun, said:
“Tissue culture requires a lot of patience, perseverance and hard work, and this one million milestone is a credit to our scientists and nursery staff at Marrinup.”

Alcoa was the first mining company in the world to achieve 100 per cent plant species richness in our rehabilitated mine site areas in Western Australia.  The company’s rehabilitation objective is to re-establish a functional ecosystem that will fulfil the pre-mining forest land uses including conservation, timber production, water catchment and recreation.

Since 1994, the one million tissue cultured plants have gone into over 6,537 hectares of mine rehabilitation at Alcoa’s Huntly Mine near Dwellingup and the Willowdale Mine near Wagerup.

about marrinup nursery
Marrinup Nursery is located 5 kilometres from Dwellingup and has been operating since 1980.  Today, it provides seeds and plants for the rehabilitation of mined areas at Alcoa’s Huntly and Willowdale mines. 
For more about bauxite mining rehabilitation visit: www.alcoa.com.au/land


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Nell's Block



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Alcoa Farmlands Manager Tony Hiscock



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The Nell's Block restoration team



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A big milestone for Alcoa rehabilitation - scroll down for full story.



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