Work to clean up a legacy of Far North Queensland’s mining history has led to the surprise discovery of a critically endangered plant.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said workers were on site at Target Gully near Queensland’s historic tin mining town of Irvinebank undertaking remediation of an old tailings dam.
As part of preparation for the project, hundreds of critically endangered purple wattle were discovered around the dam.
“Mining in Queensland dates back thousands of years to Aborigines mining for stone and ochre but with that long, proud history comes a legacy of abandoned mines,” Dr Lynham said.
“Our abandoned mines experts maintain public and environmental safety around the state at a number of sites, including Mount Morgan and in the former gold mining centre of Gympie.
“Two years ago, the Palaszczuk Government committed $42 million over five years to managing public safety risks at abandoned mine sites like Target Gully.
“I am particularly excited about the Target Gully project because it has provided the opportunity to work with the local traditional owners, the Bar-Barrum People.”
Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy staff have been working with the Mbabaram Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) and as part of this partnership, Traditional Owners have helped identify native plants to revegetate the area.
During survey work, they identified hundreds of critically endangered purple wattle, when only 500 plants had been estimated to remain in the wild.
MAC Director Shelton Murphy said his Board saw the Target Gully project as a step in the right direction in building confidence and future prosperity for the Bar-Barrum People.
“We have already had officers involved in the vegetation survey of the site, and look forward to discussing with the project team any ongoing opportunities for involvement in the remediation,” Mr Murphy said.
“We are also hoping any native species propagation can be a stepping stone to launching a native plant nursery enterprise that can give our people sustainable economic opportunities.
“We know these relationships are vital in building our own people’s capacity to work with Government to promote, preserve and protect our Country.”
Local businesses have been employed to undertake remediation work, including earthworks to re-profile the tailings, improve site drainage, backfill a tailings pond, and work to prevent further soil erosion.
Works are expected to be completed in July 2018.