Iluka's Jacinth-Ambrosia mining operation in South Australia is in a sensitive arid environment. The mine is located where three different habitat types converge: the chenopod habitat of the Nullabor; the Myall woodlands of the Eyre Peninsula; and the mallee dune systems.
Very little scientific information exists about the germination requirements of many of this arid land flora species. There is also limited information on how these species cope with environmental stresses, including drought, salinity and fire.
To overcome the challenges associated with environmental management and rehabilitation in such a fragile environment, Iluka has taken an active and collaborative research based approach to rehabilitation research.
In 2014, a project entitled Root distribution and salinity and soil water dynamics in a chenopod shrub land: implications for restoration technology was undertaken in partnership with the University of Adelaide, and jointly funded by Iluka and the Australian Research Council. The project investigates the dynamics of water and roots in soils in arid lands to inform re-vegetation practices to reconstruct soils and establish vegetation after mineral extraction. As part of the research at Jacinth-Ambrosia, a trial was established which involved planting native vegetation to the site in soil containing mined by-products.
After initial watering and establishment the vegetation continues to grow without assistance.