It was a welcome surprise at the 2014 Tasmanian Minerals Conference to hear a wildlife expert announce that mine sites can provide a safe haven for the endangered Tasmanian devil.
The Manager of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, David Pemberton, provided one of the most popular conference presentations.
``Mine sites are a safe refuge for devils,'' David said. ``All those anthropogenic mortalities that affect them, they don't encounter at the sites.''
As a result of David’s presentation, an industry workshop arose with the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program, a highly successful and well-attended two day workshop at Grange Resources’ Savage River in August.
Tasmanian Devil guru, Nick Mooney, joined David Pemberton at the workshop to also share his experience and expertise of the beloved native animal. It provided an excellent opportunity for the industry to understand more about the devil such as its life cycle and the important times of the year to minimise any disruption.
Nick Mooney said it was a misconception devils and miners could not co-exist. “In these sort of areas there are just a few devils covering a lot of ground and the bush on the leases surrounding the mine workings can provide a refuge,” he said.
“Yes, they have dug a big hole in the middle of devil habitat but there is a lot of habitat to share.”
As the industry is aware, a mine itself generally only takes up about one per cent of the land.
Nick Mooney said the “drama” over mining and its impact on species such as the devil was overblown.
The mining industry is required to record all sightings of devils, quolls, eagles and other native species on their leases and report any injuries to animals, with industry willing doing their part. The workshop was an ideal event for environmental scientists and geologists to share and learn from each other and their practices.
The revitalisation of the Tasmanian Minerals Environment Committee will provide further opportunity for collaboration and research with groups such as Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.