The Tropicana Gold Mine is situated on the western edge of the Great Victoria Desert, an active sand-ridge desert of deep Quaternary Aeolian sands with a tree steppe of Marble Gum (Eucalyptus gongylocarpa), Mulga and Ooldea Mallee (E. youngiana) over hummock grassland, dominated by Hard Spinifex (Triodia basedowii). The climate is arid, with average daily temperature ranges of 15-45C in summer and 0-30C during winter. Rainfall generally comprises scattered showers during the winter months, and seasonal thunderstorms and cyclone-related events during the summer months. The rainfall averages between 150-250 mm annually, falling predominantly between November and March.
The Great Victoria Desert has a number of areas protected for conservation purposes, including the Queen Victoria Spring Nature Reserve, the Plumridge Lakes Nature Reserve and the Neale Junction Nature Reserve.
The baseline flora studies recorded that more than 600 species occur within the survey areas, including one Declared Rare Flora Species, a number of Priority Flora Species and at least one new flora species. The fauna studies have identified a number of threatened species within the region.
Information collected during the baseline surveys was considered during the design and layout of the Tropicana Gold Mine through the establishment of “no go” areas that should be avoided where possible. To ensure these values were protected through the life of the operation, a series of management strategies were developed and integrated into the site’s management system.
To ensure the protection of identified heritage sites near the Tropicana Gold Mine, AngloGold Ashanti Australia, as the manager of the TJV, has developed a heritage management strategy in consultation with local indigenous groups.