This week saw the start of replacement tree planting at the Hemerdon mine, run by local company Tungsten West, as part of the organisation’s ecological enhancement plans.
448 trees will be planted over the next three weeks on the stretch of land running from the eastern side of the mine down to the south by Hemerdon Ball and along Ledgate Lane.
But before tree planting could begin, approximately 2.5 km of deer fencing was installed by local landscape solutions contractor – H2 Environmental to help protect the saplings from hungry mouths.
“We’ve learned from our previous tree planting experience in the area,” says Alex Dawson, Environmental, Social and Governance Manager for Tungsten West. “The deer population around the mine is thriving and that has meant many of the trees we’ve planted over the past seven years have not grown above the protective tubes, because the moment they do, they get eaten. To prevent that, we’ve erected deer fencing around the first new planting area.”
The new deer fencing is 1.9 metres high and while it helps to protect the trees, it poses no threat to the deer and also allows the plastic tube tree protectors to be removed.
The new trees and shrubs include a variety of species found to occur naturally in the local area including oak, elm, hazel and holly - the varieties used have been determined by the existing principal tree planting scheme which meets Tungsten West’s restoration obligations.
Once grown the trees will act as a screen, meaning they will shelter the mine from view, and create a protective natural shield for the surrounding communities.
This new round of tree planting marks the beginning of a significant tree planting programme that Tungsten West has committed to carrying out over the course of the life of the mine, through close talks with Devon County Council.
In total, 42,000 trees have been planted, which will help to off-set the environmental impact of mining in the area and prepare for a time when the mine site is restored back to nature once operations have ceased.
Mr Dawson continues: “We’re absolutely committed to being a socially and environmentally responsible mining organisation at Tungsten West and we have dedicated Environmental Officers who make sure we are looking after the land and nature entrusted to us wherever possible.
“As well as continuous monitoring of our impact on things such as noise, air quality and water in the area, we will also be investing in the biodiversity of the mine. Our aim is to create and share a tree planting programme with the community so that anyone interested can see where and when we’ll be planting over the coming years.”
Tungsten West holds itself to high environmental standards and is accredited to ISO14001, a national certificate for Environmental Management Systems. This means its environmental policies, processes and procedures are checked by external auditors to make sure they meet the standard required.
Tungsten West have commissioned local company YGS Landscaping to carry out its tree planting work and have employed a full time Groundsperson to look after the green environment of the mine.
The full tree planting programme will be available later this year.