From the establishment of unique wetlands to the restoration of abandoned mine sites, Australian resource companies have led the world in reducing the impact of mining and exploration. These extreme green solutions have been acknowledged through the Golden Gecko awards since 1982.
Geckos are among the last wildlife to return to an area disturbed by mining and have become a symbol of the green revolution being undertaken by the resource sector.
The appropriately-dubbed Golden Gecko awards were launched by the Western Australian government in 1982 and have become highly respected across the community and industry.
Since the inaugural awards, dozens of mining projects have been recognised as environmentally-friendly. Liquid wastewater treatments, mangrove monitoring and mine site rehabilitation are just a few initiatives deemed worthy of the coveted awards.
“Western Australia is recognised throughout the world for its high standard of environmental management,” former WA premier Alan Carpenter said in a written statement for the Golden Gecko Awards.
“The State Government recognises the importance of balancing environmental responsibility with successful development of Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum resources.
“Over the years the Golden Gecko Awards have grown in stature to become the highest environmental accolade achievable in the Western Australian mineral and petroleum industries.
“Environmental management has improved dramatically within the resources industry over the past 15 years and the Golden Gecko Awards have played a major role in progressively lifting standards.”
Since 1992 the face of mining in Western Australia has changed dramatically. That year the State produced 108 million tonnes of iron ore, just half of 2005’s 216 million tonne production.
Improved environmental standards, including the use of eco-friendly industrial liquids to reduce soil and water contamination, have improved the mining sector’s extreme green credentials.
Early award winning projects include:
1982 – Alcoa of Australia won a Golden Gecko award for its vision in establishing a permanent wetland on the Swan Coastal Plan, which has gone on to provide a habitat for more than 101 bird species including 38 waterbird species.
1982 – CRA Exploration won a Golden Gecko award for its liaison with the Aboriginal community by producing instructional videos for residents and working in partnership with the WA government.
1993 – Western Mining Corporation (which was acquired by BHP billiton in 2005) won a Golden Gecko for its rehabilitation of the Kambalda exploration site, which showed environmental leadership.
1993 – BHP Iron Ore received a special minister’s award in recognition of its decision to close and rehabilitate the Goldesworthytownsite, abandoned mine waste dumps and industrial complex. This was done at a time when there was no mandatory requirement for site rehabilitation.
These early awards demonstrate that even 30 years ago the mining sector was making efforts to be eco-friendly. Industrial liquid waste poses a significant threat to groundwater and soil and efforts to restore mining sites improve the recovery of local fauna and flora.
The Golden Gecko awards have played an important part in not only recognising environmental efforts by resources companies but in driving further environmental change. Envirosafe Solutions has been proud to support improved environment outcomes by supplying the sector with environmental cleaning products. For more information on the Perth-supplier’s Extreme Green product range of environmentally-friendly liquids contact 1300 88 90 70 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.