Sowing the Seeds for Success

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The Pilbara Region of Western Australia is a remote, mineral rich landscape with a unique rugged beauty. The Pilbara has an arid climate where rain falls predominantly in the summer associated with isolated thunderstorms or cyclonic events. It is also one of the oldest geological areas in the world and has been recognised as one of 15 Australian Biodiversity Hotspots. Sowing the Seeds for Success is a multi-layered project designed to optimise the use of native seed on rehabilitation projects at BHP Billiton Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO).

With approximately 60 per cent of existing rehabilitated waste rock landforms at our operations in the Pilbara region requiring additional work, the team at WAIO embarked on a simple but effective approach optimising the use of native seeds for rehabilitation projects.

To improve reliability and quality of seed supply, they developed a purpose-built seed storage facility to enable long and short-term seed supply and improved seed harvesting procedures.

Additionally, they published a Pilbara Seed Atlas with the Kings Park Botanical Gardens, enabling major advances in scientific knowledge and application. The Atlas is publicly available as a field guide for industry, researchers and the broader community. The project has significantly improved performance, with approximately 80 per cent of rehabilitation projects now tracking to successful completion.

BHP Billiton Western Australia Iron Ore was recognised with a Highly Commended Award in the Environment category of the 2014 BHP Billiton Health, Safety, Environment and Community Awards.