Significance of Helena and Aurora Range

 

 

 

Helena and Aurora Range, Bungalbin has been referred to as

 

UNIQUE

The Jewel in the Crown

MOST SIGNIFICANT BIF Range in the Yilgarn

PRISTINE

INTACT

 

Some FACTS and FIGURES to support these claims are given below

 

LOCATION OF BIF (Banded Ironstone Formation) RANGES IN THE YILGARN and in the Regional Study Area for the PER

 

WITHIN THE GREAT WESTERN WOODLANDS and COOLGARDIE BIOREGION there are six HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT Banded Ironstone Formation (BIF) ranges (based on landform and conservation values).

These are:

  • Koolyanobbing Range        (mined since 1960s)
  • Mt Jackson Range             (mined since 2004)
  • Windarling Range              (mined since 2004)
  • Die Hardy Range              (minimal exploration)
  • Mt Manning Range            (minimal exploration)
  • Helena and Aurora Range (mine proposal referred to EPA and being assessed)

 

HELENA AND AURORA RANGE, BUNGALBIN, IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT OF THESE SIX BIF RANGES  - see Landform, Flora and Fauna values below.

- Note: only three of the six HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT BIF RANGES are currently INTACT and near PRISTINE - i.e. NOT being mined.

 

There are currently only three INTACT BIF ranges in the Great Western Woodlands and Regional Study Area identified in the PER (of the J5 and Bungalbin East Iron Ore mine proposal) that are also highly significant for landform and conservation values.

  • The three INTACT HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT BIF ranges are: Helena and Aurora Range, Mt Manning Range and Die Hardy Range.
  • The proponent, Mineral Resources Limited, identified seven intact BIF ranges within the region, however, the additional four BIF ranges (Hunt Range, Dryandra Range, Lake Giles Range and Evanston Range) are very low lying and do not have comparable landform or conservation values to Helena and Aurora Range, Mt Manning Range or Die Hardy Range.
  •  ‘Intact’ refers to a BIF range that has not been mined (whole sections of the range removed) and has had minimal exploration activity (drill pads and tracks cut in to the side of the hills).

 

Landform, flora and fauna values are intrinsically linked

 

The greater the landform values  - the greater the flora and fauna conservation values.

The main range of Helena and Aurora has some of the highest landform values in the region. The main range is 12km long and has slopes that; rise 200m above the surrounding plains, attain heights of 685m to 704m AHD, are convoluted, and support large BIF outcrops.

  • The BIF outcrops of Helena and Aurora Range support two endemic rare plant species (other BIF ranges support just the one endemic rare plant species on their BIF outcropping or none at all).
  • There are a total of five endemic plant species on Helena and Aurora Range – all described as “ironstone loving”. They don’t grow anywhere else in the world. (Other smaller BIF ranges have just the one endemic species or none at all.)
  • The BIF slopes of Helena and Aurora Range support stands of 15m to 30m high White Gums Eucalyptus capillosa subsp capillosa (absent from slopes of smaller BIF ranges though they can grow near the base).
  • Large BIF outcropping provides nesting sites for Little Woodswallow and Peregrine Falcon.
  • The southern slopes provide refuge areas for fauna with their higher water infiltration, water availability, cooler ambient, surface and soil temperatures, and denser vegetation. The larger the BIF range the greater the size and significance of the refuge area.
  • The greater the height and length of the BIF range the larger the population of Dryandra arborea (restricted to BIF landforms), an important food plant to honeyeaters, parrots, Western Pygmy Possum and insects.