The road to re­hab

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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.

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