This two-year research project will undertake fundamental research into the levels of radiation in flora, fauna and soils in Australia's arid environments, important data that underpins the understanding of potential radiological impacts from mining on non-human species.
The results of this joint industry–research–national authority project contribute to the national database of radiation concentration ratios of flora, fauna and soils in areas of Australia not previously surveyed.
The database will be an invaluable resource for industries in the arid and semi-arid regions of Australia that are required to assess their environmental radiological impact as part of whole of life activities (including approvals and relinquishment).
The mining commodities that this work will directly benefit include Uranium, Copper, Mineral Sands, Rare Earths and Oil and Gas.
Currently, radiological impact models for non-human species rely heavily on northern hemisphere data sets, which creates some confusion in communicating the potential impact of relevant Australian proposals. With a goal of ensuring that the international assessment methods can use actual Australian data, the expanded national database and concentration ratios generated by this project will improve the relevance and understanding of these models.
In addition, decisions made by operators and regulatory authorities will be based on more relevant local information and inform more accurate decision making. The project will also build radiation management skills and knowledge for the future workforce in the mining industry by supporting several new research opportunities for honours, masters and postgraduate positions.