A project that collects used cooking oil from mining camps and transforms it into biodiesel has received the Golden Gecko award.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum award recognises innovations which help to lessen the impact of mining on the environment.

The winners, AshOil and ESS Support Services Worldwide, collect around 200 000 litres of used oil from mining camps across the Pilbara each year.

One litre of oil equates to one litre of biodiesel, which is then sold under contract back to one of the mining companies for its drill and blast operations.

The project has reduced carbon emissions by 500 metric tonnes, the equivalent of taking 100 cars permanently off the road.

AshOil is part of the Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation and the company's research and development manager Dr Stuart Gunzberg says it's not the only environmental initiative the team is working on.

"There's a product produced in the biodiesel process called glycerol and we're working to develop a number of environmentally friendly products from it.

"They include things like soap wash, truck wash and a dust suppressant, which is something well and truly required in the Pilbara."

Dr Gunzberg believes there is potential for the project to expand beyond the Pilbara region.

"We think this model can be applicable right across Australia where there are mining operations that generate large amounts of used cooking oil."

 

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