Rehabilitation by design success

LAST week 90 environmental professionals descended on Singleton for a two-day land rehabilitation training program, featuring presentations from government and private environmental specialists and case studies by Xstrata Coal’s David O’Brien and Nigel Charnock.
Rehabilitation by design success Rehabilitation by design success Rehabilitation by design success Rehabilitation by design success Rehabilitation by design success


Angie Tomlinson

The Rehabilitation by Design event, organised by the NSW Minerals Council, focused on the practical skills of minesite rehabilitation, as well as problem solving strategies for mine employees and contractors working at minesites.

“The NSWMC Rehabilitation by Design training course was a great success both from the number of registrations [90], the quality of the course material and feedback from those who attended. It was designed to challenge practitioners’ thinking, to further improve outcomes of minesite rehabilitation,” NSW Minerals Council environment and community deputy director Georgina Beattie said.

“Collaborative partnerships and the promotion of industry best practice, typified by this training program, are critical to further develop knowledge, expertise and technologies in relation to rehabilitation practices to continually improve site rehabilitation techniques.”

Each course session covered the building blocks that play a critical role in the success of rehabilitation – such as good landform design and drainage, and the importance of data on soils and waste rock – particularly if early investigations reveal constraints such as sodicity or salinity.

Factors that limit vegetation were discussed as well as techniques to improve vegetation establishment, the importance of planning and consultation and the final technical session, “Staying Alive”, addressed ongoing monitoring and maintenance.

“All of these aspects have to be integrated to achieve leading land management outcomes, and good communications across all operational and technical services of mining operations are crucial to achieve this,” the council said.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries provided a legislative overview and indicated that new mine closure guidelines were being drafted and the importance of agreeing on completion criteria for rehabilitation.

Industry professionals from the Central West and the Hunter provided four case studies on rehabilitation and mine closure programs over the past 14 years. The award-winning Junction Reefs Gold Mine and Xstrata’s Mt Owen mine both demonstrated how the principles being taught on the course were applied in the field.

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