Central Highlands mine proves co-existence is possible
CATTLEMEN and miners are like chalk and cheese, but one Central Highlands mine has proven co-existence is not only possible, but beneficial.
Sojitz Minerva Mine paired with a cattle droving crew led by Steve Frazer to provide land, water and feed for his struggling beasts.
Mr Frazer said after nine hard months on the road, the kind action of the company was "greatly appreciated".
"They have given us country, given us water and given us a semi-trailer load of hay," he said.
"They've helped us out, they have turned inside-out for us."
Minerva Mine's environmental superintendent Julian Power said the arrangement was a "win-win" situation.
"From our point of view, Steve came past and was looking for help with the water, which we could provide," Mr Power said.
"We got talking and I realised that there would be some opportunity to graze around the lease.
"(This) would help with fuel reduction and provide the cattle with some good feed.
"When the cattle were penned overnight on the topsoil stockpiles, they trampled concentrated dung and urine into the soil.
"This added considerable amount of nutrients and organic matter, which should boost soil health and assist with future rehabilitation efforts."
Mr Power said having the mine work with the drovers was a great opportunity.
"If you work together, there's going to be a lot more benefit," he said.
"It's great to hear Steve's support for the rehab.
"Having them graze the land is the ultimate goal, so it was great.
"It wasn't a big deal for us - we saw that he needed help and we had some good opportunities."
Mr Frazer, who has lost 268 cattle along the stock route, described the experience of touring the mine site as eye-opening.
"Julian Power has taken me in and shown me around here," he said.
"What they're doing is unreal.
"I've never seen it before.
"What they have done to develop this country back into its natural state is amazing.
"I want cattlemen everywhere to see this and start thinking, 'maybe we can work together with mines'."
Mr Frazer and his partner Anita have been with the cattle from the start.
"We've gone to hell and back," he said.
"When we got these cattle they were already dying.
"We copped it tough coming through Longreach and Barcaldine and so forth.
"It's been bloody tough.
"Cattle bogged, dying, giving up the will to live.
"But you just do what you have to do.
"That's the job."