The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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Page 35 of 55

the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 3 34 AROUND THE REGION Samarco and its owners BHP and its joint-venture partner Vale have reached a deal with Brazilian public authoriঞes to sele a US$5.3 billion lawsuit related to the 2015 Bento Rodrigues dam disaster that killed 17 people and destroyed several towns. A deal has also been brokered that has led to a two-year suspension of a separate BRL155 bil-lion (approximately US$41.5 billion) civil claim over the disaster by Brazilian prosecutors. During the two-year period, the parঞes will work together to design a single process for the renegoঞaঞon of the Programs and progress selement of the US$41.5 billion civil claim. "The renegoঞaঞon process will take into account the principles and rules established under the framework agreement, and will be aimed at improvement of the programs, with the in-volvement of the affected communiঞes," BHP said in a statement. The renegoঞaঞon of the Programs will be based on certain agreed principles, such as full repa-raঞon consistent with Brazilian law, the requirement for a technical basis for any proposed changes, the findings of the socio-economic and socio-environmental experts appointed by both the Companies and the Prosecutors, and consideraঞon of the feedback from the Local and Regional Commissions. During the renegoঞaঞon period and up unঞl revisions to the Programs are agreed, the Renova Foundaঞon will conঞnue to implement the Programs in accordance with the terms of the Framework Agreement and the Governance Agreement. In 2015, two dams burst at the Samarco-owned Germano mine in south-eastern Brazil, releasing nearly 60 million cubic metres of sludge and mining waste into one of Brazil's main rivers – the Rio Doce – killing fish, fouling water supplies and flaening nearby towns in the state of Minas Gerais. An invesঞgaঞon by geotechnical specialists in 2016 found the deadly dam collapse was the re-sult of a series of design and drainage issues over a number of years. Former BHP execuঞve Jimmy Wilson was among 22 people charged by Brazilian prosecutors over their roles in the dam collapse. Operaঞons at Samarco have remained suspended as talks conঞnue with the government to ob-tain the required environmental licences. BHP and Vale reach settlement with Brazilian authorities over Samarco dam disaster The Felixer cat trap "In each case, soon a[er we released the bilbies, feral cats would get to them," Dr Read said. "We tried everything – cage traps, foot holds, baits – but nothing worked well enough to protect the bilbies. Cats are first and foremost hunters, which means that baits and baited traps are not very effecঞve when cats are not desperately hungry. I thought there must be a beer way." "I realised if you can squirt poison on a feral cat, they are very fasঞdious and will lick it off. Fast forward several years of development, a number of prototypes, and a host of regulatory approvals, and you get the version of the Felixer we see today." With a doctorate in the effects of mining and pastoralism on ecology, Mr Read believes that mining can have a large impact locally, but on a large scale the effect can be negligible if appropriate planning and proacঞve environment measures are taken. The bigger issue he sees are introduced species such as stock, cats, foxes and rabbits. "I know how difficult it can be doing feral animal control on mine sites and I see Felixers as a potenঞal soluঞon to that," he said. "Mining companies have an opportunity to achieve posiঞve benefits. Protecঞng species like this is a way to have a posiঞve net effect." As mining companies Roy Hill and Fortescue work to reduce their environmental impact with offset programs and adopt technologies to enhance operaঞons, innovaঞons such as John Read's Felixer are incredibly valuable. "In addiঞon to protecঞng important naঞve species, the Felixer is an opportunity for Roy Hill to use advanced technology to improve operaঞons," said Barry Fitzgerald, the CEO of Roy Hill. "Roy Hill is commied to conঞnual improvement and leading by example." "Provided that the Felixer is successful in the Pilbara, it has the potenঞal to be adopted wherever feral predators pose a threat to biodiversity. This is a prime example of industry, government and start-ups coming together to face a broader issue." Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines said, "Fortescue values the unique biodiversity of the Pilbara region and is commied to safeguarding the environment for future generaঞons through responsible environmental management." "We are pleased to be involved in this cuমng-edge research program, which is using the latest feral animal management technology in remote and unmanned locaঞons where tradiঞonal feral cat trapping programs are not feasible."

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