‘Stacks of Fire – Implementing a Fire Management Program Mount Isa Mines’

‘Stacks of Fire – Implementing a Fire Management Program Mount Isa Mines’ Conference Paper

17th Australian Rangeland Society Biennial Conference

  • Author(s): K. Masters
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Australian Rangeland Society

Abstract: How does a mine site environmental advisor convince a mine manager to let them light a fire within a few hundred meters of two fresh air intakes of an underground mine, a 320 man camp and a massive crushing facility construction project? Letting them play with a drip torch helps but getting it right with the right project planning and people and then not disrupting production is the best method. The 66 640km2 Mount Isa Inlier bioregion in north western Queensland is typified by rugged red rocky hills, low open woodland of spinifex and snappy gum and is the location of the Xstrata Mount Isa Mines copper, lead and zinc open cut and underground mining and processing/smelting operations. A biodiversity assessment conducted in 2009 identified that wildfire was a significant threat to the biodiversity of the 32,000ha Mining Lease. Other research including habitat and distribution surveys of the fire sensitive Carpentarian and Kalkadoon grasswrens found that wildfires were extensive across the bioregion and threatening these species. Xstrata Mount Isa Mines developed a lease wide Fire Management Plan with the inclusion of neighbouring pastoral properties to implement hazard reduction and infrastructure protection. The first round of the on ground burning program was successfully completed in March 2012 with six strategic burn areas. Parameters that attributed to the high rate of success with this program included no mine shut downs or production interference during the burns and a high degree of stakeholder involvement including neighbouring pastoral property managers; scientifically sound burning techniques including weather conditions for cool burns and ratio of area burnt / unburnt allowing for increased habitat regeneration and retention.

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Suggested Citation
K. Masters, 2012, ‘Stacks of Fire – Implementing a Fire Management Program Mount Isa Mines’, Conference Paper, viewed 08 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3653.

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