How New Hope Group has rehabilitated New Acland mine - Mining Software - Technical Assurance, Resource & Mineral Governance - Enterprise SaaS

How New Hope Group has rehabilitated New Acland mine

New Hope is committed to the sustainable development of all mining lease areas under its management. Best practice environmental planning is incorporated into all phases of our projects, from development and exploration to eventual closure. All activities at New Acland are delivered under the strict conditions and requirements of its Environmental Authority (EA) as granted by the State.

Key Facts:

  • Progressively rehabilitated since operations began in 2002
  • Around 490 hectares of mined land is now rehabilitated at New Acland
  • 240 hectares of the rehabilitated land is now used for grazing – 75-100 cattle
  • Five years of scientific cattle grazing trials conducted on the rehabilitated land indicate cattle grazing on mined land perform as well, or better than, cattle on un-mined land
  • Innovative cattle grazing trials and a local tree species planting program are also in progress
  • New Hope Group’s unique approach to achieving a sustainable, economically productive and environmentally healthy post mine landscape has been recognised nationally by being awarded the 2016 ABA100 Winner of the Australian Business Award for Sustainability.

Land management

New Acland benefits from one of Australia’s most ambitious and practical land management programs, led by the Acland Pastoral Company (APC). Established by New Hope in 2006, APC provides a progressive rehabilitation program to return mined land to agricultural and conservation uses while contributing to the region’s agribusiness industry. To date, about 400ha of land has been rehabilitated. Innovative cattle grazing trials and a local tree species planting program are also in progress. There are about 2,000 head of cattle on 4,000ha of land and cropped wheat, sorghum, barley and legumes on 2,400ha.

Water management

Current mining operations at New Acland use recycled water from the Toowoomba Regional Council’s Wetalla wastewater reclamation facility. Under the proposed continuation plans, the operation will continue to be self-sufficient for mine water supply by purchasing water from the Wetalla facility via an existing pipeline. The $30 million pipeline and pumping system, from Wetalla to the mine, was funded by New Hope. Only about 20 per cent of Wetalla’s water is purchased by New Hope with the majority of the water currently discharged down Gowrie Creek and available to local irrigators. Operations also use wastewater from the Oakey township’s reverse osmosis water treatment plant, saving money for Oakey ratepayers.

Noise management

The New Hope Group is committed to responsible environmental management and continuous improvement across all phases of our projects and operations. We understand our noise management practices are an important area of interest for our near neighbours and local communities. Without appropriate mitigation, noise can become disruptive to day-to-day life. In order to reduce and remain responsive to potential noise issues, the New Hope Group continuously monitors noise and vibration from our current operations and adapts our practices where required. New Hope is committed to continuous improvement of our operations. As part of this commitment, we have implemented an extensive range of management measures that effectively address and reduce potential noise and vibration impacts.

These measures include:
  • Forecasting and monitoring of weather conditions to understand how noise is likely to travel and plan our activities accordingly;
  • Reducing noise by including/tailoring equipment e.g. mufflers installed on key mining equipment such as excavators, track dozers and loaders;
  • Scheduling of activities to ensure evening and night time noise is kept at a minimum;
  • Implementing a noise and vibration plan to guide day-to-day noise management practices;
  • Using stockpiles and bunds as noise barriers for works where possible;
  • Implementing a Trigger Action Response Plan (TARP) with realtime monitoring and adaptive management actions that involve immediately reducing, relocating or stopping identified noisier mining activities; and
  • Ensuring our neighbours have access to an after-hours contact number for immediate on-site response to potential noise issues.

Air quality management

New Hope continuously monitors the air quality conditions at its rail loading facilities. It operates according to the strict environmental requirements of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and specifically meets all the Environmental Authority (EA) and Development Approval (DA) conditions set by the Queensland Government. New Hope goes beyond requirements in the best interests of its neighbours, communities and the wider region. New Acland Coal Pty Ltd (NAC) has publicly displayed air quality monitoring results in Jondaryan, at the Caltex Road House since 2011 in agreement with the Jondaryan District Residents Association. After receiving interest from the broader community, NAC has decided to also display these results online. Sampling locations are located in the Jondaryan township, and air quality monitoring results represent air quality based on the Jondaryan township’s surrounding land uses including: bulk material handling, agriculture, and traffic. Three types of results are reported in accordance with relevant Australian Standards as described below:
  • Dust deposition monitoring: Material deposited by gravity is collected in sample containers on a monthly basis. Samples are submitted to an independent laboratory for analysis to measure dust deposition rate and sample composition;
  • PM10 monitoring: An independent third party contractor runs a powered sampler drawing ambient air through a filtering mechanism for one 24 hour period per quarter. The sampler reports the concentration of particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than ten microns; and
  • TEOM monitoring: A powered sampler draws ambient air continuously and reports total concentration of particles on a real time basis.
Atmospheric conditions (wind speed and direction), and surrounding land use observations are referenced when reporting air quality results. These aspects are important to consider when interpreting results where multiple sources potentially affect air quality.

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