Planning and Approvals
Kur-World Integrated Eco Resort
The KUR-World Project is an ‘Integrated Eco-Resort’ and innovation hub proposed on a 626 ha site near Myola in the Mareeba Shire. NRA was engaged to prepare technical documents concerning ‘Flora, Fauna and Biosecurity’, ‘Water Quality (Surface and Groundwater)’ and ‘Soils and Landforms’. Subsequently, the scope of works expanded to include the coordination of environmental studies for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Auctus Resources Pty Ltd – Environmental Approvals
NRA performs specialist environmental services to assist our client to satisfy its obligations under various environmental regulations applying to its mining and exploration activities in Queensland. These services include:
- Advice concerning environmental management and compliance with State and Federal environmental requirements
- Preparation of environmental documentation including reports and external statutory documentation
- Monitoring and assessment of environmental values and impacts
- Environmental Auditing and Investigation
- Environmental Project Management.
Queensland Government – Environmental Approvals
NRA is on the Department of Transport and Main Roads panel of preferred providers and Engineering Consultant Scheme. Through these panels NRA routinely conducts Environmental Impact Assessments and assists with the preparation of permitting and approval documents. These projects typically involve:
- Environmental Scoping Reports
- Review of Environmental Factors (REF)
- Road Corridor Environmental Assessments
- Assistance with approval and permit applications
- Environmental auditing and project management
- Preparation of specific management documents (eg Environmental Management Plans, Erosion and Sediment Control Plans, Rehabilitation Plans)
- Specialised studies (eg threatened and migratory species, acid sulfate soils).
Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)
Shoalwater Bay Training Area Redevelopment Project
NRA assessed the proposed facility upgrades at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area. The project involved:
- Assessment of potential impacts to rare and threatened species, land and water values
- Development of management measures to minimise impacts
- Assessment of the significance of impacts under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Haughton Pipeline Duplication Project
NRA prepared an Environmental Analysis Report (EAR), Project Environmental Management Plan (PEMP), Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) and EPBC Act Referral for the proposed Haughton Pipeline Duplication Project (36 km linear infrastructure). The design and construction phases of the Project were integrated into the survey design. The study included:
- Baseline field surveys
- Description of environmental values
- Identification of potential impacts
- Recommendations for mitigation measures
- Consideration of legislative requirements.
Flora and Fauna
NRA has been monitoring Cassowary populations at Defence sites (Cowley Beach Training Area and Tully Training Area) for approximately 20 years. These sites are part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and support Cassowary populations of high conservation significance. Prior to 1998, no standardised monitoring technique for cassowaries existed. NRA has developed and implemented an innovative, robust and repeatable method for monitoring cassowaries.
Flying-fox Management Plan
NRA conducted field assessments of flying-fox roosts in the Central Highlands Regional Council Local Government Area and prepared a flying-fox management plan that:
- Identified key management issues and potential management options
- Provided a framework for managing flying-foxes.
Mount Cook Weed Monitoring and Assessment
NRA surveyed for the presence and abundance of Siam Weed and other weed species in the Mount Cook (Magnetic Island) Obstruction Beacon Authority Area and the receiving environment. The results of these surveys and advice regarding ongoing weed management were presented in a report.
Mount Dromedary Graphite Project Baseline Terrestrial Flora and Fauna
NRA conducted a baseline flora and fauna assessment of the Mount Dromedary Graphite Project area to inform an environmental approvals application. The assessment included a desk-based review and seasonal field surveys. Potential project-related impacts and management measures were identified, and the potential for significant residual impact was assessed.
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality
Receiving Environment Monitoring Programs – Australia Pacific LNG Surat Basin coal seam gas operations
NRA conducts receiving environment monitoring programs (REMPs) to assess water and sediment quality, phytoplankton biomass, zooplankton and aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages, stream flow, bed and bank stability and aquatic habitat in waterways receiving treated coal seam gas water.
Mungana Environmental Impact Monitoring Program
NRA conducts aquatic ecosystem monitoring surveys at the Red Dome/Mungana Project in north Queensland. The ongoing project has provided our client with data for baseline, compliance and investigation monitoring and has been used in environmental authority applications.
Ernest Henry Mine and Mount Margaret Mine Annual REMP Reports
NRA prepared the Ernest Henry Mine and Mount Margaret Mine Annual REMP Reports in accordance with the conditions of the environmental authorities. The reports summarised the data that was collected during the annual reporting periods to identify potential impacts from mining operations on the environmental values of the receiving environment.
Peer Review – National Default Guideline Values
NRA’s ecotoxicologist is the technical manager for the independent peer review of new and revised national default water quality guideline values for toxicants. This role involves providing technical input during the peer review process to ensure consistency with scientific and technical requirements for guideline value derivation.
Water Quality Guideline Values for Uranium and Manganese
NRA is assisting the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist with the derivation and reporting of the national default guideline value for manganese and default and site-specific guideline values for uranium in freshwaters.
Soil Survey, Land Suitability and Soil Management
Erosion and Sediment Control
NRA has prepared and reviewed Erosion and Sediment Control Plans (ESCPs) for road upgrade and associated infrastructure projects on Cape York Peninsula. NRA has completed numerous environmental studies for the Peninsula Developmental Road over the past 20 years. Recent work specific to soils includes a general risk ESCP for the construction phase of the South of Musgrave and the Archer and Wolverton road upgrade works.
Lizard Island Erosion and Sediment Control
NRA was commissioned to provide advice on the erosion and sediment control (ESC) measures implemented during the refurbishment activities on Lizard Island. NRA recommended best practice ESC measures to control the severity and extent of erosion and sediment transport from the project area and provided a plan for monitoring and maintenance of the ESC measures implemented.
Texas Silver Mine Irrigation Study
The State of Queensland requested NRA undertake an independent study of potential impacts and mitigation measures associated with irrigating mine affected waters from the Texas Silver Mine. The purpose of the work was to obtain independent advice to minimise the impact of irrigation to aid the evaporation of mine affected waters at the former Texas Silver Mine site without causing additional environmental harm.
Land Rehabilitation and Revegetation
Rehabilitation – QCoal Group
NRA has been involved in the preparation of Rehabilitation and Post Mine Land Use Plans for coal operations in central Queensland. This has included setting rehabilitation objectives and completion criteria in accordance with State guidelines. NRA has conducted annual rehabilitation monitoring at Sonoma Coal Mine since 2012 to gauge rehabilitation performance against the objectives and completion criteria documented in the Rehabilitation Plan.
Rehabilitation – Glencore
NRA presented a staged, integrated approach to rehabilitation management and environmental monitoring at Ernest Henry Mine (EHM) and Mount Margaret Mine (MMM) operations (the Optimisation Plan). The Optimisation Plan involved the development of robust rehabilitation targets documented in the EHM and MMM Post Mine Land Use Plans. Since 2014, NRA has conducted annual monitoring to gauge rehabilitation performance against these targets, demonstrating that:
- Some disturbance areas at EHM have been successfully rehabilitated to the required standard
- Vegetation communities are self-sustaining and resilient to environmental stress
- Other performance measures are progressing along a desired trajectory.
Sediment Quality Monitoring
NRA provided advice on the use of an improved sediment quality monitoring approach for aquatic ecosystem monitoring at Lady Loretta Mine. NRA tested the improved approach parallel with the existing approach during the Wet Season Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Survey. This approach has been used to improve compliance reporting and potential impact assessment for the mine’s receiving environment.
NRA has developed the use of control charts for groundwater quality monitoring and compliance assessment. Control charts provide a method for reliable and relevant groundwater quality compliance assessment that is based on an intra-bore comparison. This is major advantage for mine sites that have complex geology where the traditional approach of comparing data from reference and compliance bores is inappropriate.
MEDLI – Model for Effluent Disposal using Land Irrigation
This model is used to assess the viability of, and potential impacts associated with, effluent irrigation.
NRA reviewed the effluent irrigation environmental (soil and water) monitoring program for a large mining operation in north-west Queensland. NRA’s skills and experience in soil science were used to provide advice on monitoring suitable for addressing regulatory requirements and for providing data to allow the client to assess the sustainability of the application of treated effluent to land used for sport and recreation purposes.
Expert Witness and Advice
NRA has a long record of preparing expert reports, and various staff have presented testimony in Planning and Environment Court, Land Court, Magistrates Court and District Court.
Bates v Queensland Nickel
The State of Queensland engaged Tim Anderson of NRA as an independent expert witness in the legal proceedings Bates (The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection) v Queensland Nickel. The work involved:
- Management of process water residues
- Water balance
- Water treatment
- Tailings and process water storage
- Preparation of expert reports
- Presentation of evidence in Magistrates Court and District Court.
Citigold Rehabilitation and Financial Assurance
NRA’s Tim Anderson was engaged by the State of Queensland as an independent expert witness for the Land Court appeal EPA055 between Citigold Corporation Limited and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. The work involved assessment of Plan of Operations and Financial Assurance for three gold mines and broadly encompassed:
- Impact identification
- Assessment and mitigation
- Rehabilitation planning, assessment and derivation of costings
- Preparation of expert reports
- Presentation of evidence in the Land Court including concurrent (‘hot tub’) testimony.
Threatened Fauna Species Assessment
Peter Buosi of NRA was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Australia to undertake multiple Threatened fauna species assessments relating to properties in the Cape York, Gulf of Carpentaria and Burdekin districts. Peter provided expert advice on the potential presence of Threatened or Migratory terrestrial fauna species, or their habitat, within the receiving environment of the proposed actions and assessed the potential for significant impact at each property.
A secondment provides an opportunity for our clients to have an environmental professional on-site for a nominated period. NRA has provided support services of this type for our long-term clients. We have seconded to numerous operations from open cut to underground mines:
- Mineral sands.
NRA recently seconded an Environmental Scientist to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for 12 months to assist a multi-disciplinary team to deliver the projects and contracts associated with the Cape York Region Package.