Mine site rehab R&D highlighted at conference

MEMBERS of the University of NSW’s Australian Centre for Sustainable Mining Practices (ACSMP) recently presented at the ‘Best practice ecological rehabilitation of mined lands 2015 conference’ in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley.

Lou Caruana

The annual conference, which was organised by the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment (TFI), plays a significant role in the Hunter Region by showcasing the industry relevant research in mine rehabilitation as well as by citing leading practice examples. This year, the Mine Rehabilitation conference garnered interest from mining industry representatives, regulators, consultants and academics.

Lecturer at UNSW’s School of Mining Engineering and co-director of the Laboratory for Imaging of the Mining Environment (LIME) Simit Raval highlighted the progress of the fast growing satellite industry and its uses in environmental monitoring.

He advocated increased use of advanced remote sensors mounted on various platforms such as satellite, aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles for improved and cost effective monitoring of mining environments.

Raval demonstrated a case study of mapping discrete features of re-vegetated areas at Ulan Coal mine using high resolution satellite data.

He also presented his findings of a study conducted at Powell River Project (PRP) in Central Appalachian coalfield (US) to estimate biomass of the reclaimed site through remote sensing.

A PhD candidate at ACSMP, UNSW Mining Engineering Mascha Blommerde also presented at the conference, with her research focusing on quantification of completion criteria which could effectively be used for assessing success of mine closures.

Robust quantification of the completion criteria, if verified, would assist the mining companies as well as the regulatory bodies to achieve the best possible outcomes.

She highlighted mine completion criteria across different states in Australia as well as provided examples from US and Canada. She proposed a pilot study at a rehabilitation site in the Hunter Valley region, NSW to develop, test and verify the completion criteria framework to advance this study.

Following the completion of the conference, delegates visited rehabilitation sites of Rix’s Creek mine in the Hunter region.