Biosis Monitoring on the Illawarra Escarpment

Illawarra Coal, a wholly owned subsidiary of BHP Billiton, owns and operates the Dendrobium mine, a metallurgical coal mine in the Sydney water catchment on the Illawarra Escarpment in New South Wales. The mine is 100% underground and its hard coking coal is a key raw material in the production of steel used in buildings, household items and other goods and services.

Biosis has, and continues to, partner with BHP Billiton to assess the potential impacts of longwall mining operations on biodiversity and heritage values located above the proposed mine to assist BHP Billiton in gaining approval. Biosis continues to monitor the ecological and heritage values in and around the Dendrobium mine, according to the conditions of approval under state and commonwealth legislation.

Biosis has been monitoring the ecological and heritage values above the Dendrobium mine since 2001, in line with BHP Billiton’s conditions of approval.

Biosis undertakes quantitative assessments of upland swamps and along creeks, monitoring changes in species richness and diversity as well as impacts to threatened species. By collecting detailed data prior to mining (baseline data) Biosis is able to compare data collected during or post-mining with this baseline data and advise BHP Billiton on any changes and potential impacts.

Biosis also undertakes monitoring of heritage sites above the Dendrobium mine. Data collected during and post-mining is compared with data collected during detailed baseline recording to determine whether impacts to Aboriginal shelter sites have occurred, and whether this has impacted on the heritage values of these sites.

In addition, Biosis continues to develop a unique methodology that enables consultants to predict potential impacts to Aboriginal shelter sites based on the characteristics of these sites and anticipated subsidence. Our capacity to predict, through modelling, the result of land movement on sites of heritage significance has helped BHP Billiton in its planning and approvals for Dendrobium.

BHP Billiton has quality internal systems and an expectation that its consultants can provide answers to questions it asks. Biosis strives to meet BHP Billiton’s expectations with its broad experience in ecology and heritage assessment and monitoring and the ability to revise and customise its own monitoring programmes to meet the needs of its clients.

Up to speed with a changing regulatory environment, Biosis archaeologists, botanists and zoologists form an impressive team and a healthy mix of staff from experienced through to graduates means quality assurance across reporting and monitoring lines.

Biosis has worked to provide findings and objective advice that assist BHP Billiton in planning to respond to changes in the natural and heritage environment as and if they occur. Working closely with BHP Billiton, Biosis has developed a mutually respectful relationship that preserves biodiversity and sites of heritage significance, adheres to regulations and allows our client to plan strategically.

Like BHP Billiton, you can know where you stand. Talk to Biosis.