A by-product of diamond mining in the northeast of Western Australia is that sediment is released into streams downstream of mining activities. Effectively managing environmental impacts such as this is a requirement for mining companies to ensure that mining activities do not have an adverse impact on biodiversity, either during mining or after mine closure.
Working with aquatic ecologist, Michelle Rhodes of 360 Environmental, who had conducted a study to investigate such impacts on downstream freshwater aquatic ecosystems, stable isotope analysis was used to examine how the diets of fish differed between streams and multivariate analysis was used to combine thousands of data points to test for the impact of mining on freshwater stream ecology by selecting variables that may be important and excluding non-meaningful data.
Our case study demonstrates how these techniques were used to effectively visually display this complex multivariate data (reduced down to two dimensions) and to determine if mining was having an impact on macroinvertebrate communities.
Sampling can be used as an effective and efficient means to provide a high level of assurance for assets. In our case study we look at how a practical sampling scheme was designed to verify the accuracy of Western Power’s database of approximately 80,000 wooden electricity poles identified for pole replacement or reinforcement. Working with EnergySafety, a sampling scheme was designed to physically inspect a sample of wooden poles and compare the results with the database information. Maps were integral in developing a spatial sampling solution that balanced travel time and inspection time required while delivering an adequate level of assurance.