Rehabilitation Case Study: Native seed reclaiming on mined land (Rio Tinto Coal & Allied)

June 06, 2017

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An ambitious programme at two Coal & Allied mine sites is aiming to improve the quality of rehabilitation in the Upper Hunter Valley using native seeds and leading agricultural practice in land management, soil preparation, sowing and monitoring.
 
As part of their Warkworth Extension approval process, Coal & Allied have committed to rehabilitating the majority of mined land to an ecological community similar in composition and function to the Central Hunter Grey Box – Ironbark – Spotted Gum endangered ecological communities. 
 
Much of the ecological diversity in these communities occurs in the understorey layer, and the establishment of this understorey is an important part of the rehabilitation process which incorporates topsoil improvements, weed control and surface stabilisation and diversified seed mixes.
 
Since 2011, hundreds of hectares of rehabilitated areas at Coal & Allied’s Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth mines have been prepared and sown with seed mixes containing the level of species diversity seen in local endangered ecological communities.
 
Results have been promising so far, with the native seed establishing well in a growth medium of mine spoil mixed with compost. This programme has benefited from improvements in rehabilitation techniques which have significantly improved soil conditions for rainfall harvesting and infiltration, and subsequent native vegetation establishment.

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