Astron was engaged to monitor the success of rehabilitation techniques currently implemented at an open-cut copper mine and provide recommendations towards future rehabilitation activities. This involved the establishment of Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) and vegetation monitoring transects within rehabilitated waste rock dumps and at suitable analogue sites.
Permutation-based multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) was used to analyse the differences in LFA indices and vegetation monitoring data between the analogue monitoring locations and the rehabilitated monitoring locations. The relationships between the progress of rehabilitation and factors related to rehabilitation techniques were also examined.
Results indicated that rehabilitated monitoring sites generally differed from analogue monitoring sites with respect to the LFA indices (stability, infiltration and nutrient cycling) and floristic composition. Results from the data analysis indicated which rehabilitation techniques appeared to be related to greater progress of rehabilitation.
One of the key objectives of any rehabilitation monitoring project is to have a clear and accurate method for measuring performance across a site and flagging areas where intervention may be required to arrest and potentially rectify a developing issue. For this project Astron developed a Rehabilitation Monitoring Plan with management triggers for when remedial actions should be considered.