The road to rehab
Coal & Allied alluvial land rehabilitation
As a condition for development consent to mine 165 hectares of farming land in NSW’s Upper Hunter Valley region, Coal & Allied had to rehabilitate almost a third so it was suitable for irrigated agriculture, with the rest restored for dry-land farming. The topsoil and subsoil, which had been stockpiled separately, was replaced to a depth of 1.5 metres. To prove the land was viable, Coal & Allied grew lucerne crops that matched the average crop productivity in the Upper Hunter region for three consecutive years.
Glencore’s Westside coalmine
Commencing operations in 1992, the Westside open-cut coalmine – about 20 kilometres south-west of Newcastle in NSW – closed in 2012 and, thanks to a progressive program, rehabilitation work was complete two months later. As native vegetation flourished, native animals followed. Vulnerable species observed on the site include the little bent-wing bat, the grey-headed flying fox and the greater broad-nosed bat.
Cristal Mining’s Ginkgo mine
In semi-arid southwest NSW, Gingko’s mineral sands mine is subject to extremes of weather, with bushfire, floods and temperatures ranging from sub-zero in winter to 40-plus degrees in summer. There’s also the problem of feral goats bent on destruction. Despite these challenges, Ginkgo rehabilitation work has restored a delicate ecosystem with flora species that include belah, black bluebush and old man saltbush.