Focus on fauna as finalists compete for 2016 Golden Gecko awards

Mines and Petroleum Minister Sean L'Estrange will present the 25th annual Golden Gecko Awards and the inaugural Community Partnership Awards in October.
Date: Monday, 05 September 2016

What do a chuditch, woylie, brush-tailed wambenger, dell’s skink and a sandhill dunnart all have in common?

They are some of the important fauna being protected by companies vying for the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP) coveted Golden Gecko Awards for Environmental Excellence.

Of the 10 projects short listed for this year’s awards, half are aimed at conserving species native to Western Australia.

The entries come from a wide range of resources companies from across the State, ranging from the South West to the Goldfields, Mid West and Pilbara.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Sean L’Estrange will present the 25th annual Golden Gecko Awards and the inaugural Community Partnership Awards at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth on Thursday, 27 October.

The partnership awards acknowledge benefits provided by mining and petroleum resource companies to local communities in areas where they operate.

The 10 Golden Gecko projects will be showcased during a seminar before the formal awards ceremony to give guests a greater understanding of why they were chosen as finalists.

Information on the Golden Gecko Awards and presentation is available on the DMP website at

The 10 finalists for the 2016 Golden Gecko Awards are:

Iluka Resources Limited
Project Name: Native Vegetation Linkage
The project involves rehabilitation of a historic mined area in the Whicher Scarp to create a sustainable ecological linkage between two areas of significant remnant native vegetation. Iluka developed and implemented innovative rehabilitation techniques which set a new standard for the industry.

Buru Energy Limited and Murdoch University
Project Name: Disturbance Ecology of the Greater Bilby in the Canning Basin 
The project tackles the lack of information regarding bilby ecology in the Canning Basin to better understand the impact of petroleum activities and other disturbances on bilbies. The project uses a range of methods and involves participation and data sharing by Traditional Owners. The results will be made publicly available to benefit other operators, stakeholders and researchers.

APA Group and Kingfisher Environmental Consulting
Project Name: APA Eastern Goldfields
The 293 km Eastern Goldfields Pipeline is a high pressure gas transmission pipeline which transports natural gas from Karratha to the AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam and Tropicana Gold Mines and Goldfields Australia’s Granny Smith mine site. The pipeline extends from the current Murrin Murrin/Yarraloola terminus to the mines, traversing a large section of previously undisturbed Great Victoria Desert including potential habitats for the endangered small carnivorous Australian marsupial, the sandhill dunnart. The APA Eastern Goldfields Pipeline Sandhill Dunnart Monitoring Program was developed with zoologists from Kingfisher Environmental Consulting who also lead the field works. Methodologies introduced new processes, facilitated by improvements in remote sensor cameras and radio-tracking transmitters, which have led to the accumulation of new species habitat and predation data.

Newmont Boddington Gold
Project Name: Large Scale Fauna Relocation Program
In recognition of the importance of fauna in the Jarrah forest near its Boddington mine,  Newmont conducted a two-month fauna translocation program that included a number of species identified as significant for conservation including the chuditch, woylie, brush-tailed wambenger, southern brown bandicoot, dell’s skink and carpet python.

Downer Mining
Project Name: Downer Mining Environmental Education & Training Program
Downer Mining has been working hard through education and training to minimise environmental risk. The company’s Environmental Education and Training Program was a top priority during 2016 and focused on targeted training including the incorporation of environmental sustainability into the compulsory supervisor core training module. Environment and sustainability awareness training is now a requirement for all employees with direct environmental responsibilities.

Spiecapag Lucas and CNC Project Management
Project Name: Eastern Goldfields Pipeline: Front Foot Package
The project developed and implemented of a pro-active and innovative package of measures aimed at being “on the front foot” to mitigate impacts on fauna during the construction of a 293 km gas transmission pipeline. The project’s focus was on bottom-up delivery, adoption of new technology and strong leadership. Awareness of the importance of fauna management was raised within through innovative approaches including the use of an ArcGIS Collector geographical information system to improve the efficiency of data gathering, and a trial of Go-Pro technology to assist in efficiency of trench checking, reduce fauna mortality and lower overall environmental management cost.

Karara Mining Limited
Project Name: Micro-Mist Dust Suppression System for Primary Crusher
Karara needed to solve the problem of excessive dust emissions at the mine’s primary crusher Run of Mine (ROM) bin. Working collaboratively with Enviromist Pty Ltd and Bulk Materials Engineering Australia, the company implemented an innovative micro-mist dust suppression system which eliminated excessive dust and reduced water consumption at the ROM bin by 60 per cent.

Roy Hill Infrastructure Pty Ltd
Project Name: Going above and beyond to minimise impact to mangroves in Port Hedland
During development of its port project, Roy Hill Infrastructure Pty Ltd (RHI) focused on reducing the environmental impact on mangroves. RHI has completed construction of the port project with significantly fewer total impacts to mangroves than allowed under approvals. RHI have also gone beyond regulatory compliance in its ongoing monitoring program.

Vimy Resources Limited
Project Name: Innovative Camera Trapping of the Sandhill Dunnart in the Great Victoria Desert
Vimy Resources Limited Mulga Rock Project is located in the south-western portion of the Great Victoria Desert, which is home to a number of fauna species with conservation significance, including the elusive nocturnal ultra-small sandhill dunnart. Vimy has developed an innovative, standardised and peer-reviewed Camera Trapping Protocol to identify the sandhill dunnart. Because the protocol has a number of advantages over traditional fauna sampling techniques it has a wider application for the scientific community.

Strike Drilling Pty Ltd
Project Name: Strike Drilling X350 Track Mounted Drill Rig and Support Unit
After consultation with exploration clients, Strike Drilling designed a drill rig and support unit able to significantly reduce the machine’s environmental footprint while being mobile enough to operate in previously inaccessible areas.