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Considerable effort is being made by mining companies to develop completion criteria for native ecosystem
rehabilitation, based on sound ecological principles. However to date, criteria have largely focused on
vegetation communities, with comparatively little attention paid to the development of achievable completion
criteria for fauna. This paper reviews relevant fauna studies in the mining industry and illustrates how these
are being used to develop workable completion criteria.
Studies show that mines developing completion criteria for fauna can face significant challenges. Monitoring
data reveal considerable variability in the rates at which fauna recolonize mine rehabilitation. This can be
due to factors specific to the group being studied, such as mobility, method of dispersal, and habitat
requirements. However, it can also be due to variations in the numbers present in surrounding source
populations, the presence of predators (both native and feral), and the extent to which its habitat
requirements are being fulfilled in the newly rehabilitated area.
Detailed fauna research programs in the Australian bauxite and mineral sand industries, together with
monitoring at other mines in Australia and elsewhere, show that the processes of faunal recolonization can
be understood and completion criteria developed by adopting a systematic approach to the selection of
agreed rehabilitation objectives, implementation of monitoring and research programs, and from these,
developing achievable completion criteria, standards and milestones.
This paper utilizes various examples to show that, whilst several companies have developed completion
criteria for fauna, caution is warranted if mines are to avoid setting criteria that may prove difficult to
assess, or unattainable milestones.
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