December 4, 2009

A Trio of Nursery Awards for Alcoa

Alcoa’s Marrinup Nursery has taken out three prestigious awards at the 2010 WA Nursery & Garden Industry Awards.

The awards are designed to acknowledge the efforts of businesses and individuals within the nursery and garden industry who strive to achieve best businesses practice.

The three accolades received by Alcoa were: ‘Best Propagation Award’, ‘Best Community Award’ and ‘Best Medium Production Nursery.’

Alcoa’s Marrinup Nursery, located near Dwellingup in WA, plays a vital role in the company’s mine site rehabilitation.  Alcoa is a recognised world leader in rehabilitation and was the first mining company in the world to achieve 100 per cent plant species richness in its rehabilitated mine site areas of the WA jarrah forest. Marrinup Nursery, which has been in operation since 1980, continues to be successful in propagating a wide variety of plant species for rehabilitation.

Marrinup Nursery Manager, Dr Ian Colquhoun, said he was honoured to receive the inaugural WA ‘Best Propagation Award’ which acknowledges a business which displays an extraordinary business operation and dedication to work ethic on a daily basis.

“We are particularly proud of our ability to propagate plants that have never been propagated before,” he said.

The ‘Best Community Award’, also won by Alcoa, recognises a business  which demonstrates outstanding commitment to its local community through work conducted outside of the day-to-day operations.

“Alcoa shares its knowledge with the community through regular tours of the mine site rehabilitation areas.  Our Nursery also propagates dieback resistant jarrah seedlings that are provided to local conservations groups so they can grow them as part of their programs to rehabilitate disturbed bushland,” Dr Colquhoun said.

“We also work with Dwellingup Primary School and the Dwellingup Forest Heritage Centre to protect trees in Dwellingup from Phytophthora dieback.

“Recently we also reached a milestone of producing our millionth recalcitrant [plants that are very difficult to propagate] tissue culture plant for mine rehabilitation - these are plants which are critical for jarrah forest biodiversity.

“To successfully propagate these species we had to call on the expertise of our Nursery Scientist who customised methods to both multiply the plants, and ensure they had roots that would survive when planted in the rehabilitated mined areas.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment which puts us at the forefront of mine rehabilitation globally – and winning these awards tops off a fantastic year for our team.”

The three wins put the Marrinup Nursery in the running for the national Nursery & Garden Industry Australia Awards, which will be presented in April 2010.

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About Alcoa’s 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.
Marrinup Nursery near Dwellingup, south of Perth, includes a state-of-the-art 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. Every four weeks the plant material is divided and placed into fresh agar and within a few months thousands of plants can be produced.

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.

For more about bauxite mining rehabilitation visit: www.alcoa.com.au/land