This chapter looks at the main impacts of mining on biodiversity and how these can be appropriately managed through processes like strategic regional assessments, use of bioindicators in rehabilitation, and biodiversity offsets.
The wealth that mining creates gives the industry the opportunity to have a positive effect on biodiversity.
Compared with other lands uses, such as farming, the direct impacts of mining on biodiversity are often small because of the relatively small areas of land that mines use.
Negative impacts on biodiversity can accumulate when there are multiple mining projects within a region and regional development around mines can spread these negative impacts across a broader area.
There are three main strategies to mitigate the impact of mining on biodiversity:
- before mining begins, use strategic assessments that look at biodiversity impacts caused by regional development
- during the life of a mine, offset any unavoidable impacts on biodiversity by supporting conservation activities elsewhere in the region
- when mines close, rehabilitate mine sites not just to re-establish vegetation cover but to develop self-sustaining ecosystems that interact positively with the surrounding landscape.
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Alan Andersen, Garry Cook and Nicholas Bax
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