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    10027: Native seed collection and propagation for mine site rehabilitation

    A ‘Grass Grabber’ was successfully used to harvest the seed of Spinifex grass, an important step towards propagation of the locally native plant (horticulturalist George Woolston pictured). Courtesy Judi Bennington, Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation
    A ‘Grass Grabber’ was successfully used to harvest the seed of Spinifex grass, an important step towards propagation of the locally native plant (horticulturalist George Woolston pictured). Courtesy Judi Bennington, Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation

    A significant market exists for local native plants and seeds for use in rehabilitating mine sites in the Pilbara. Mine operators and their contractors are keen to work with local Aboriginal communities to gather seed and grow seedlings.

    These communities have an excellent knowledge of the plants, when they seed and the places and times the seeds are best collected. Drawing on this local knowledge is an important aspect of this project.

    With the help of State NRM Program funding, this project aims to show what is required for Aboriginal communities to:

    • collect seeds in the field
    • process, treat and grow those seeds
    • raise seedlings in locally managed greenhouses
    • supply the seed and seedlings to mine site operators and rehabilitation contractors.

    The long-term aim is to generate culturally appropriate jobs and small business opportunities for Indigenous people in their own communities.

    Investment: $ 50 000
    Other contribution: $ 85 600
    Delivery organisation: Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation
    Project duration: October 2011 - December 2012
    Location: Aboriginal communities and towns in the Pilbara, particularly in the Western Desert region—Punmu, Parnngurr, Jigalong, Marble Bar/Nullagine and Yandeyarra

    Major project achievements

    • Education and training was provided to local indigenous for the market of native seed collection and propagation for the use on mine site rehabilitation.

    • Liaison with large mining companies such as Rio Tinto, Kings Park and the Pilbara TAFE ensured the project's success.

    • Investing into the development of the courses.

    Lessons Learnt

    • Community and local engagement and relevance is key to project's success

    • Liaison with large investors contributes largely to success of remote projects

    Project partners

    Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation; Kings Park Garden and Parks Authority

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