The Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust is a unique and collaborative approach to biodiversity offsets and is increasing knowledge and conservation outcomes in the Great Victoria Desert - Australia's largest desert.
The Great Victoria Desert spans an area of 418,750 square kilometres across Western Australia's southern rangelands to South Australia's western region, with important cultural connections for Traditional Owners and Custodians.
AngloGold Ashanti Australia established the Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust in 2013 as part of the biodiversity offset approach for the Tropicana Gold Mine located on the desert's western edge. The Trust supports research and on-ground conservation in two of the desert's six ecological sub-regions.
Extensive flora and fauna surveys as part of the approvals process for Tropicana ensured mine design minimised biodiversity disturbance and informed the project’s environmental impact assessment.
The opportunity for a new fund for on-ground research and conservation was identified during the biodiversity offset strategy development. This increased ecological knowledge and conservation with benefits for species listed as Matters of National Environmental Significance in an area with fewcontemporary studies.
Stakeholders wanted more knowledge on fauna listed as Endangered, such as the Sandhill Dunnart and Malleefowl.Opportunities for Indigenous participation, training and knowledge exchange were also important.
The Australian Government supported a Trust as part of Tropicana’s biodiversity offset strategy.
The Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust’s unique structure includes the Western Australian Public Trusteeacting as Trustee, an independent chair and a website to share research.
Trust objectives cover development of a bioregional management plan, priority research and conservation for identified threatened species, and Indigenous participation in landscape and species conservation.
The Tropicana Joint Venture will contribute approximately $4.4 million over Tropicana’s current mine life, following an initial contribution of $1.6 million.
Partnering for collective impact underpins the Trust’s approach. Among other outcomes this approach supported a new Adaptive Management Partnership – a collaboration of conservation, Indigenous and land management organisations for shared cultural and conservation vision in the area.
2020 GVD Biodiversity Trust Fact Sheet