Photo credit: Jeremy Shepherdson
Astron’s Principal Scientist Katina De Sousa attended the AMEC Mining and the Environment Conference held in Perth earlier this week.
The conference covered various areas of interest, with key speakers highlighting the importance of closure planning, environmental regulation reform and cumulative impacts and pressure points, such as the Pilbara and Banded Ironstone Formations.
Several presentations highlighted the importance of planning for closure and undertaking progressive rehabilitation.
Department of Natural Resources and Mines Queensland, Acting Abandoned Mines Coordinator Daniel Gillinder discussed the cost to the government of dealing with abandoned mine sites, with $6 million spent every year in Queensland to remediate sites with the highest risk to the public.
This was followed by a presentation by Sarah Bellamy, Manager Environmental Reform, Department of Mines and Petroleum who reported on the progress of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF). The MRF was established to fund the rehabilitation of abandoned mines in Western Australia.
Since the MRF was introduced, the Department of Mines and Petroleum have returned over $1 billion held in Unconditional Performance Bonds and $33 million has been paid into the fund by companies.
Payment into the fund is calculated based on the area and type of disturbance at a site. Therefore, progressive rehabilitation on disturbed areas is key to reducing ongoing payments into the fund.
Jeremy Shepherdson Environmental Manager – Operations, Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore highlighted the benefits of undertaking progressive rehabilitation during operations.
With a remaining mine life of five years, Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore has set themselves the target of rehabilitating an area of 10 hectares per month in 2015.
Advantages of undertaking progressive rehabilitation during operations have included being able to learn and improve techniques and increased ownership of the rehabilitation by the earthworks operators. The operators are now even constructing bird perches on the top of waste rock dumps after they noticed falcons sitting on logs watching the rehabilitation activities (refer to attached photo).
Astron’s Rehabilitation team have years of experience with the development and implementation of closure plans, rehabilitation management plans and rehabilitation monitoring programs across Western Australia. For further information on our services please contact our Principal Rehabilitation Scientist, Katina De Sousa.