Finding better outcomes for land after mining


A tour of England usually includes a trip to the picturesque Lake District in Cumbria County to see the fells and the many glacier-sculpted lakes. A tour of Western southeast of Perth can include the Collie Lake District with its 16 or so pit lakes, the result of open-cut coal mining in the region. Some are abandoned without rehabilitation and others are used for recreation or commercial activities.

Mining in the Hunter is vast and will continue long past my lifetime, and eventually we too will have our own Lakes District with some 20 to 30 mine voids slowly filling with water over coming decades or centuries. It is imperative we plan for remediation of those lands before the mining is underway.

Good planning takes time, research and conversations such as “what is the best use of post-mining landscapes’, “how does the current research impact on existing practices” and “how can we improve our commitment to the community to remediate these lands”. On April 12 at Wests Lambton, these topics and more will be under an international spotlight with about 250 delegates from across and the world coming to hear the latest approaches to the management of rehabilitation of disturbed lands post mining at the eighth Annual Best Practice Mined Land Rehabilitation conference. Speakers will include soils and restoration ecology expert Professor Eduardo Arellano from Chile, tropical forestry expert Professor Yudi Arifin from Indonesian Borneo and geomorphic mine rehabilitation expert Professor José Martín Duque from Spain.

This annual conference organised by the TFI and the Hunter Environmental Institute is a significant event on the region’s calendar in the quest for better regulations and outcomes for mined lands and their associated voids – soon to be pit lakes.

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, University of Newcastle

Comments are closed.