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.