Kalbar Resources has appointed one of Australia’s leading native grassland restoration specialists to oversee restoration of the Fingerboards Mineral Sands project at Glenaladale.
Dr Paul Gibson-Roy has been appointed as Kalbar’s Manager Ecological Restoration.
Paul is a restoration ecologist specialising in the re-establishment of species-rich grasslands and grassy woodlands.
In 2004 he instigated and led the Victorian Grassy Groundcover Research Project – GGRP (a partnership between Greening Australia and Melbourne University) as a state-wide, field-scale grassy ecosystem restoration program undertaken on farms, roadsides and public reserves.
In NSW Paul developed what was one of the most advanced native seed production facilities in the country, growing native wildflowers and grasses and using this seed to restore complex grassy woodlands across the region. Over a decade and a half, the GGRP has received both national and state awards for on-ground and community outcomes.
Paul says south-eastern Australia’s native grasslands and open grassy woodlands are dynamic and vibrant plant communities.
He says: “Prior to European settlement these communities occupied millions of hectares of south-eastern Australia, but due to the cessation of indigenous land management practices followed by the expansion of European-style agriculture they are now among the Australia’s most endangered ecological communities – highlighting the critical need for their conservation and restoration”.
Paul believes that the resource sector potentially represents a significant market for native grassy community restoration in Australia.
“The mining sector represents a unique opportunity to undertaken and expand grassy restoration. Interestingly, of the many forms of mining, mineral sands mining offers better prospects for successful grassy restoration compared to others”, he says.
He says the reasons for this include: “That the bulk of excavated material is returned rather than leaving large voids and that rehabilitation follows directly after the mining operation. Importantly, the potential to carefully manage topsoil return and placement in sands mining dramatically increases the likelihood that nutrient settings will be ideal for natives and that weed seed banks are sufficiently diminished”.
“These factors combined with budgets that support sound planning, securing sufficient seed resources and developing appropriate capacity for on-ground restoration enhance the probability for successful grassy woodland restoration at scale.”
Kalbar Resources Chief Executive Officer, Dr Victor Hugo says: “We are committed to the successful rehabilitation of the Fingerboards mine and will be using the best available expertise and rehabilitation techniques to ensure that the land is left in the same or better condition after the mine is closed”.
“The project provides an opportunity to address existing erosion problems, improve agricultural productivity and restore native grasslands on the site”, Dr Hugo said.