Research

Our research aims to establish clear, evidence-based, best practice standards for rehabilitation and management of mined land in Queensland.

Categories of technical and scientific mine rehabilitation publications are listed below. Publications will be added as they become available.

Mine waste cover systems

Effective management of mine waste requires an understanding of the interaction between local climate, the geochemical properties of waste material and the surrounding environment. Cover systems are an important part of controlling this interaction and supporting the rehabilitation of mine waste held in tailings storage facilities, waste rock dumps or heap leach piles.

Publications

Residual voids

Open cut mining practices have historically left open mining pits (referred to as ‘residual voids’) in place at the end of mining. These voids can become pit lakes and can pose ongoing risks that may need to be managed. Voids can also be used to generate opportunities for post-mining uses, including irrigation of crops, provision of stock drinking water, pumped storage hydropower, aquaculture or development of recreational areas.

Publications

Student reports

Post-mining land uses

Mine rehabilitation is the return of disturbed land to a safe, stable, non-polluting condition that supports a post-mining land use (PMLU). In Queensland, the most commonly proposed rehabilitation PMLUs are grazing and native ecosystem. However, there are a range of other PMLUs, as well as post-rehabilitation opportunities for future landholders, that could be explored to maximise social, economic and environmental outcomes from rehabilitation in Queensland.

Publications

Addressing topsoil deficits

Topsoil deficits are a common aspect of open cut mining. This is because the post-mining surface area of waste rock dumps and mine void slopes is greater than the comparatively flat area from which topsoil was harvested prior to mining. The situation is even more challenging at older mine sites where topsoil was often not harvested prior to mining, or where it has been stockpiled for years and has lost much of its nutritional quality. As a result, mine rehabilitation activities may have to rely on a thin layer of stockpiled topsoil, nutritionally deficient subsoil, overburden, or a combination of these. Careful management is needed to ensure that these materials can sustain vegetation, are not prone to erosion and will support final rehabilitation objectives.

Publications