Fate of Coral Reefs Undermined by Mining

A new study from The Australian National University (ANU) has shown the impact phosphate mining is having on our coral reefs. (Image: Dr Jennie Mallela)
A new study from The Australian National University (ANU) has shown the impact phosphate mining is having on our coral reefs. (Image: Dr Jennie Mallela)

A new study from The Australian National University (ANU) has shown the impact phosphate mining is having on our coral reefs. The study looked at coral reefs around Christmas Island, where there’s been extensive phosphate mining for around 100 years.

Lead researcher Dr. Jennie Mallela says in areas near the island’s mining “hot spots,” the reef showed high levels of pollution. This pollution has caused a slowdown in reef growth and diversity, Dr. Mallela said:

At heavily polluted sites, the researchers also found fewer “branching” coral species. Dr. Mallela added:

Dr. Mallela says mine operators need to look at better storage and waste management options, saying:

The results of this study could hold some important lessons for other mine sites across Australia as well. Dr. Mallela said:

Despite this warning, there were some positives to come out of the study. Dr. Mallela found the damage was contained to certain areas around Christmas Island and explained:

The research has been published in the journal Science of The Total Environment.

Provided by: The Australian National University [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

Like this article? Subscribe to our weekly email for more!     

Astronomers Find Traces of One of the First Stars
How Wildfires Trap Carbon for Centuries to Millennia