Mount Isa, 14 July 2011
Xstrata Mount Isa Mines has been awarded the prestigious Riversleigh Medal for its support and commitment to fossil research within the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of Boodjamulla National Park.
“The Riversleigh Medal is the highest honour that the Riversleigh Society bestows, and past recipients include national and international leaders in the study of prehistory such as Sir David Attenborough, palaeobotanist Dr Mary White and anthropologist Professor Mike Morwood,” said Dr Arthur White, President of the Riversleigh Society.
“The Riversleigh Medal selection committee was unanimous in its decision to award the 2010 Riversleigh Medal to Xstrata Mount Isa Mines for its vital support of the Xstrata Riversleigh Fossil Project”, said Dr White. “It is the first time the medal has been awarded to a company and recognises the exceptional contribution made by Xstrata Mount Isa Mines to our understanding of Australian prehistory.”
Xstrata’s support has enabled the discovery of hundreds of museum-quality fossil specimens to be added to Australia’s national natural treasures including the remains of the massive Diprotodon recently found at Floraville Station along the Leichhardt River.
The Diprotodon was a giant pre-historic plant-eating marsupial that weighed around three tonnes, raised its young in a pouch and is thought to have lived in mobs like kangaroos. It is the largest marsupial ever to have lived on Earth. The prehistoric remains are known to be the world's most complete Diprotodon skeleton ever sourced from a single specimen and are considered a significant scientific discovery.
Chief Operating Officer Xstrata Copper North Queensland, Steve de Kruijff, accepted the Riversleigh Medal on behalf of Xstrata Mount Isa Mines at a presentation ceremony at Outback at Isa and was delighted that Xstrata Mount Isa Mines’ support of fossil research through the Xstrata Community Program North Queensland had been recognised at this level.
“This is a very proud moment for Xstrata Mount Isa Mines and we are honoured to have received this medal for our support of this very worthy project of national and international significance,” said Mr de Kruijff.
“The World Heritage Listing of the Riversleigh fossil deposits, located on the doorstep of Mount Isa, underscores the importance of this area as a significant natural national treasure and a valuable ecotourist and paleontological research destination in north west Queensland.
“We are humbled to be the first company to receive this award which has previously been awarded to individuals of high esteem such as Sir David Attenborough.
“Xstrata Mount Isa Mines is proud to have funded this paleontological research for the past four years as part of the Xstrata Community Program North Queensland (XCPNQ), and we look forward to our continued support of this program,” said Mr de Kruijff.
Since its inception in 2005, the XCPNQ has supported over 70 initiatives with a total program value of over $18.1M, with $8.8M of these funds supporting Mount Isa initiatives. Additionally Xstrata Mount Isa Mines recently committed $2M to the redevelopment of the Royal Flying Doctor Service base in Mount Isa as part of our Social Infrastructure Program.
Xstrata Mount Isa Mines partnered with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) through the XCPNQ in 2008 to help fund a number of collaborative educational, environmental and research initiatives into the geological and palaeontological resources of the World Heritage listed Riversleigh Fossil and Mineral Trail in North West Queensland. Additional funding obtained by the UNSW through the Australian Research Council Linkage Program has supplemented Xstrata’s funding and will enable the partnership to continue through to 2012.
“Xstrata’s funding makes the annual fieldwork possible,” said UNSW’s Professor Mike Archer. “Without the backing of Xstrata Mount Isa Mines we would not have been able to make some of our most exciting and significant discoveries at Riversleigh and more broadly in north Queensland”.
“Thanks to Xstrata Mount Isa Mines, we have made some fascinating fossil finds including horned turtles, giant crocodiles and “thunder” birds, a bizarre sabre-toothed bandicoot, a Komodo Dragon, small ancestral koalas, a plethora of tiny bats, and a spectacular skeleton of Diprotodon, the world’s largest marsupial,” he said.
“Among the most significant advances made over the last three years is the first opportunity to very precisely date the Riversleigh fossils and key changes in their habitats over the last 25 million years of Australian prehistory.
“This represents a giant leap forward in better understanding the effects of past environmental and climate change on ecosystems at the regional scale, as well as nationally and internationally,” said Professor Archer.
In addition to this fieldwork and dating of fossils, Xstrata’s funding is used towards acid lab work, surface-ground water studies, research student training and the development of the Xstrata Fossil and Mineral Trail. When completed, the Xstrata Fossil and Mineral Trail will benefit students, locals and visiting ecotourists who learn about and in some cases collect fossils and minerals that document the last two billion years of Gulf of Carpentaria history.
Neither the content of the company's or University’s website nor the content of any other website accessible from hyperlinks on the company's or University’s website is incorporated into, or forms part of, this announcement.
|Manager Corporate Affairs and Community Relations North Queensland
||Senior Community Relations Advisor|
||+61 423 820 820
||+61 423 849 009|
|Professor Mike Archer
||Associate Professor Sue Hand|
|University of New South Wales
||University of New South Wales |
||+61 423 553 333
||+61 419 198 704|
Additional information about the Riversleigh World Heritage Area
More than 30,000 museum-quality specimens from 200 Riversleigh sites have been recovered, with many new sites and new kinds of animals found each year. Species already known include an overlap of archaic Gondwanan groups, for example extinct lineages of bizarre yalkiparidontians, weird dasyuroids and perameloids, diverse diprotodontians, marsupial lions, dromornithids, giant mekosuchine crocrodiles including some that climbed trees, meiolaniids or horned turtles, and giant madtsoiid snakes including the largest snake in the world.
Riversleigh’s fossils are encased in limestone that formed in lime-rich freshwater pools and ancient caves. Blocks of this fossil-rich limestone are transported to laboratories at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Outback at Isa for expert preparation. The many thousands of fossil bones recovered span the age over the last 25 million years of Australian history.
Because of their global significance, the Riversleigh fossil deposits were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994 and a management strategy ratified in 2002.
The Riversleigh fossil deposits have been worked continuously since 1983 by Professor Michael Archer, Dr Sue Hand and Mr Henk Godthelp from the UNSW in conjunction with the Mount Isa City Council, the Riversleigh Fossils Centre (Outback at Isa), Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the indigenous Waanyi people, and the Queensland Museum, as well as hundreds of volunteers, students and scientific colleagues from 26 institutions and 11 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America.
Notes to editors
About Mount Isa Mines
Xstrata Mount Isa Mines is a world class mining operation and a significant asset within the Xstrata global portfolio. Xstrata Mount Isa Mines is operated jointly by the Xstrata Copper and Xstrata Zinc business units.
Xstrata Mount Isa Mines processes and mines copper and zinc ore from the Mount Isa, Ernest Henry, George Fisher, Black Star, Handlebar Hill, Enterprise, and X41 ore bodies. Mining is both underground and open-cut. Products marketed by the company for export are: Copper Cathode, Copper Concentrate, Zinc Concentrate, Crude Lead and Tankhouse Slimes (a co-product of copper refining with significant copper, gold and silver content).
With a workforce of over 4,000 employees and contractors, Xstrata Mount Isa Mines is a significant contributor to the local economy, contributing nearly $2 billion to the local economy in 2009. In 2009-10 Xstrata Mount Isa Mines exported more than $2.3 billion worth of product, up 22 per cent on last year, and accounting for more than three quarters of total sales.
The company’s structure recognises a fully integrated marketing approach blending global marketing intelligence with local logistics, shipping, port and commercial expertise. Commercial and sales staff are located in Townsville and Brisbane.
The company’s key export markets include Canada, China, England, Germany, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.
About Xstrata plc
Xstrata is a global diversified mining group, listed on the London and Swiss Stock Exchanges. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Xstrata maintains a meaningful position in seven major international commodity markets: copper, coking coal, thermal coal, ferrochrome, nickel, vanadium and zinc with additional exposure to gold, cobalt, lead and silver. The Xstrata Group also comprises a growing platinum group metals business, iron ore projects, recycling facilities and a suite of global technology products, many of which are industry leaders. The Group's operations and projects span 20 countries.
About Xstrata Copper
Xstrata Copper is the fourth largest global copper producer with attributable mined production in 2010 of 913,500 tonnes of copper in cathodes and concentrates. The company is also one of the world’s largest producers of smelter and refined copper, including from third party materials.
Headquartered in Brisbane, Xstrata Copper is one of the commodity business units within the major global diversified mining group Xstrata plc. Its mining and metallurgical operations and development projects span eight countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the USA. Its operations and projects are administered through a regional divisional management structure, which ensures that critical decisions are taken close to the related businesses. It also has a recycling business (Xstrata Recycling) with plants in the United States and offices in Canada and Asia.
About Xstrata Zinc
Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, Xstrata Zinc is one of the world’s largest producers of zinc and one of the commodity business units within the major global diversified mining group Xstrata plc. Xstrata’s zinc and lead operations and exploration projects are located in Australia, Canada, Germany, Peru, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Xstrata Zinc’s operations in Spain comprise the San Juan de Nieva zinc smelter and the Arnao zinc semis plant in Asturias, and the Hinojedo roasting plant in Cantabria.
In Australia, operations comprise: the Mount Isa, George Fisher underground, Handlebar Hill open cut and Black Star open cut zinc-lead mines, zinc-lead concentrator, lead smelter and Bowen Coke Works in north Queensland; the McArthur River open pit zinc-lead mine, processing and loading facility in the Northern Territory; and the Lady Loretta zinc lead deposit in north-west Queensland.
In Canada, operations and exploration projects include the Brunswick zinc-lead mine and lead smelter in New Brunswick; 25% of the CEZ zinc smelter near Montreal; and the Perseverance zinc deposit in Quebec.
Xstrata Zinc also operates the Nordenham zinc smelter in northern Germany; the Northfleet lead refinery in the United Kingdom; and owns 33.75% of the Antamina mine in Peru.
Around half of all zinc currently consumed is used for galvanizing steel, which is an environmentally friendly method of protecting steel against corrosion. Zinc also finds application in the manufacture of die-cast alloys, brass and the production of zinc oxides and chemicals.