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Meet environmental leader and wildlife conservationist, Peter York

Rescuing animals and helping reduce environmental impacts is all in a day’s work for Mount Pleasant environmental and community superintendent, Peter York.

With over ten years’ experience, operating out of Thiess’ Mt Owen and Mount Pleasant operations, Peter champions his sites’ commitment to taking care and respecting the environment.

While on the ground at Thiess, Peter has come across plenty of little critters; however, his most memorable was Owen, a spotted tail quoll stuck amongst the rubbish bins on site. 

The discovery of Owen in 2014, quickly developed into the ‘Mt Owen quoll tracking project’. 

“We wanted to understand if the quolls were utilising the rehabilitation areas for foraging, so we placed collars on them and tracked them using GPS. The data revealed the quolls were living and taking advantage of our rehabilitation at Mt Owen, which was pretty cool.”

“By understanding the proportion of time spent in the Rehabilitation areas we were able to supplement the area with hollow logs and fallen trees to provide additional den sites to expand the foraging opportunities for the Spotted Tail Quolls.”

Peter is passionate about his work to improve rehabilitation methods to ensure mining’s compatibility with current and future land use.

“People often don’t realise this aspect of our role within mining. We are working with a massive scope, building an eco-system within a landscape that people will be looking at forever.”

“Rehabilitation is the legacy that Thiess leave behind for future generations. Everyone will measure Thiess’ success on the quality of its rehab.”

Peter’s role at Mount Pleasant involves developing and implementing environmental strategies to minimise dust and noise generation to meet strict government regulations while also working with the local Hunter Valley community.

“Recently, at Mount Pleasant, we have had the opportunity to assist with community events and engage with the local kids at our skateboarding competitions and sponsoring the local Billy cart derby.”

“It’s very rewarding contributing to community events in the local area. They are a great opportunity to meet new people and develop a relationship with local organisations and charities.”

“I have also found the events as a great family outing where I normally drag my wife and kids (2-year-old Hanna & 4-year-old Sam) along to join in the fun at our community events.”

His greatest achievement outside of work is raising a young family and a few cattle on his farm outside of Muswellbrook. He loves his rural lifestyle and ensures he uses his environmental practices at home.

“At home, I engage in sustainable farming practices by not overgrazing the property and looking after the native vegetation to minimise environmental impact on the farm.”