Minesite Rehabilitation: The Importance of Effective Monitoring Design to Ensure Sustainable Outcomes

By Simon Peter Drummond.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Rehabilitation of disused mine sites is a statutory requirement within Australia and much of the world. In the Australian context, relinquishment of a mining lease, and thus liability for environmental costs, is dependant upon providing evidence that goals set for rehabilitation by regulatory agencies are met in an acceptable manner. Often, these goals include target requirements for land stabilisation, void security and revegetation. No general consensus exists on the most effective methods for rehabilitation. Determining how successful a particular rehabilitation method may be is thus highly important. Monitoring programs are almost universally employed to evaluate, among other properties, the success of revegetation. However, as this paper will discuss, many of these programs appear to lack sufficient power to provide confident comparisons between rehabilitated land and undisturbed areas. Monitoring designs are often unable to distinguish between even poorly rehabilitated land and undisturbed areas with any degree of statistical precision. Failure in this regard has substantial implications for the long-term sustainability of the mining lease and surrounding areas. The importance of designing effective monitoring programs for the purpose of rehabilitation evaluation is discussed, with an emphasis on the long-term benefits that are possible to the mining company, and more importantly, the wider environment and community.

Keywords: Rehabilitation, Mining, Environmental Monitoring, Australia

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.129-136. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 510.718KB).

Simon Peter Drummond

Ecologist, EGC Pty Ltd, Australia


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