Talison Lithium is committed to sustainable development and regards the environmental management and rehabilitation of mining sites as among its highest priorities. The Company continuously reviews and improves its environmental management system to reduce the impact of mining on site and on neighbouring communities.
The Greenbushes Lithium Operation has stringent environmental operating conditions. The site is certified to International Standards ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System Requirements and ISO 14001:2014 Environmental Management System requirements by BVQI.
Talison Lithium’s key environmental responsibilities at the Greenbushes Lithium Operations include:
- Rehabilitation of mined land to re-establish a self-sustaining, native forest ecosystem
- Ensuring the quality of local water resources are maintained
- Minimising the spread of weeds on site in accordance with an Integrated Weed Management Plan
- Waste minimisation, employing a policy of reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible
- Environmental monitoring in accordance with the Company’s operating licence
Rehabilitation programs for historical and inactive sites at the Greenbushes Lithium Operations are managed with the assistance of local regulators. Completion criteria have been developed in joint consultation with regulators and require re-establishment of self-sustaining native forest, whilst maintaining recreation, conservation, landscape and hydrology ideals.
Rehabilitation involves initial earthworks to reform the landscape, application of a 'topsoil' layer (usually soft rock or lateritic clay), followed by ripping and contouring to improve drainage and promote root growth. Available rocks, logs or forest litter are spread to provide habitat for local fauna.
Seeds are collected during late spring typically from within a 15 kilometre radius of the Greenbushes Lithium Operations. Seeding of rehabilitation areas is carried out in early winter followed by planting of jarrah and marri seedlings. Weed control is an important component of rehabilitation during the first three years. The success of rehabilitation is monitored annually by assessing plant density and species diversity.
The success of rehabilitation efforts at the Greenbushes Lithium Operations received recognition in 2006 when the Company was awarded a “Golden Gecko”. This award promotes and recognises outstanding environmental achievement in the Western Australian resources industry.
Floyds Waste Dump Clearing Offsets
As part of the mines continued operations the waste rock dump is to be expanded, resulting in the loss of 75.7ha of habitat for three threatened species of Black Cockatoo. Under the EPBC act a habitat Offset was required to allow this expansion to progress.
An agreement has been reached between Talison Lithium and a south west grazing company which currently holds 121.7ha of Black Cockatoo habitat that is under threat. Under the agreement a perpetual restrictive covenant has been placed on the 121.7 ha which will require the area to be maintained and managed for its value as native vegetation with improvement of its assessed habitat score from 7/10 to 8/10 over a 20-year period.
An Offsets management plan has been developed for this habitat and will be managed on Talison Lithium’s behalf by the Blackwood Basin group. The progress of the Offsets block will be reported and published annually. Links to the management plan and annual and reports can be found below
(a) Management Plan
The Greenbushes Lithium Operations is located in the Blackwood Valley Catchment. Water for mineral processing is sourced from rainfall and stored in several process water dams and mining voids located on the site. Conservation of water is a high priority and process water is recovered and recycled. To ensure that surface water quality is maintained, measurement and reporting of water quality parameters in key water bodies is carried out on a weekly basis. Ground water monitor bores are located around the process plants and tailing dams, and are monitored on a quarterly basis.
The location of the Greenbushes Lithium Operations in a rural area and proximity to a township demands a strong commitment to the management of mine site emissions including dust and noise.
Talison Lithium has installed a noise monitoring station which is located on the sound wall between the mining areas and the town of Greenbushes. Noise is monitored continuously at this location and recording of noise “events” are collected. This data is reviewed daily to ensure compliance with regulation levels.
Dust monitoring is also carried out to ensure compliance with licence conditions. Dust management strategies at the Greenbushes Lithium Operations include:
- Applying water and using dust suppressing chemicals on stockpiles
- Baghouse and scrubbers system on driers to reduce particulates in stack emissions
- Re-vegetation of unused open areas and seeding accessible areas of tailings storage facilities with annual grasses
- Management of tailings discharge lines to ensure moisture is maintained on exposed areas.
Integrated Weed Management at the Greenbushes Lithium Operations combines multiple weed management techniques aimed at reducing weed density. Ultimately, the aim is to prevent weeds setting seeds, or vegetatively reproducing, so that the weed population is reduced over time, reducing weed competition and preserving the natural environment. Talison Lithium employs a full time weed control officer and uses a variety of mechanical, biological and chemical methods to manage weeds at the Greenbushes Lithium Operations.
Talison Lithium recognises its responsibility to protect the environment by minimising waste and has a long term strategy to reduce the amount of waste generated. The strategy aims to:
- Reduce solid waste going into landfill
- Re-use potential waste materials whenever possible
- Minimise packaging waste