Curtin University in Australia has called for the implementation of new mining rules for the protection of animals in site restoration projects.
Research from the university revealed that mine operators are failing to consider the impact of mining on animals in most site restoration assessments.
As part of the study, a global review of literature relating to mine site restoration was carried out revealing that that fauna was under-recognised in assessments of restoration success.
Curtin University School of Molecular and Life Sciences ARC Centre for Mine Site Restoration (CMSR) lead author Sophie Cross said that the research highlighted a need for an increased focus on fauna monitoring and behavioural studies to have a better understanding of the long-term success of mine site restoration.
Cross said: “Although mining activity creates a relatively small footprint on the land, 75% of active mine sites are situated on land considered to be of high conservation value.
“Animals are often assumed to return to the area of a mine site following its closure and the return of vegetation; however, in practice restoring animal communities and biodiversity can be exceptionally challenging.”
Curtin University research found that there is an urgent need for detailed consideration of animal communities in mine site restoration.
The university researchers said that the success of restoration measures cannot be determined just by the common method of vegetation surveys.
School of Molecular and Life Sciences research supervisor Bill Bateman said: “Our study has highlighted the importance of comprehensively and representatively restoring faunal communities after mining.”