Throughout its lifetime, mining has the potential to impact the surrounding environment and communities. Many project developments become potentially sensitive for regulators, local communities, investors, and employees as a result of such effects, whether direct, indirect, or cumulative.
Each mining operation is a transient land use and is anticipated to cease operations at some future date. When a resource is exhausted or when the cost of production outweighs the rewards, an operation is typically shut down. Therefore, the closure offers chances for mining-affected land to be restored to one or more sustainable post-mining land uses.
Although mine rehabilitation is a legal obligation for all mining projects in Australia, it is also an activity in which the industry can clearly demonstrate its sustainable development commitment to its key stakeholders. Planning for rehabilitation is a crucial component of mine closure, and efficient planning can reduce rehabilitation costs. Progressive rehabilitation can also give an early sense of how realistic and reachable site closure goals are. By requiring sites to create life-of-mine or mining operations plans, state governments are increasingly highlighting the crucial connection between rehabilitation and closure from a legal standpoint (DTIRIS 2013).
A failure to comply with regulatory requirements could result in increased attention, more restrictions on businesses, higher compliance costs, and potentially higher litigation costs. It could also potentially result in the corporation losing its social licence to operate and limiting its future access to resources. Failure to plan and begin rehabilitation early in the course of the operation may make it difficult to acquire the knowledge and skills required to produce a result that is sustainable and satisfies set success criteria.
Mine site rehabilitation should be designed to meet three key objectives:
- The long-term stability and sustainability of the landforms, soils and hydrology of the site
- The partial or full repair of ecosystem capacity to provide habitats for biota and services for people
- The prevention of pollution of the surrounding environment
According to the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, mine rehabilitation objectives may involve:
- the restoration or rehabilitation of the area so that the pre-mining conditions are replicated (75% of mines in Australia use native plant species because the establishment of native ecosystems gives the greatest chance of self-sustainability)
- rehabilitation to improve the post-mining conditions
- rehabilitation to a new landform, land capability or final land use
The capacity of a mine site to meet rehabilitation goals depends on the scope and nature of the damages of mining as well as environmental conditions. Numerous mine sites are located in environmentally difficult areas in Australia where physical resources like nutrient-rich soil and regular rainfall are scarce. In light of the severity of the disturbance, it is challenging to determine the possibility of a successful rehabilitation.
A mining company’s sustainable development strategy must include rehabilitation. Governments, communities, and businesses all face severe legacy issues as a result of inadequately repaired mines. There is a need for rehabilitation as it ensures you are leaving the land better than you found it.
K2fly Mine Rehabilitation leverages remote sensing techniques, accurate compliance tracking, stakeholder management and central access to quantifiable data in one view to meet closure criteria, measure progressive rehabilitation and reduce the impact to the community and landscape in the context of where the mine operates. By visualising rehabilitation efforts and tracking stakeholder commitments you can build trust, reduce overall costs and maintain your social license to operate.