Native species resettle as rehabilitation progresses well

12 February 2019

We recognise the importance of managing the land we operate on as productively and sustainably as possible. At Meandu Mine, our approach involves rehabilitating and restoring mined land progressively during the mine’s life. This aims to minimise the active area of our mining operations at any point in time, and ensures that land can be effectively returned to a sustainable post-mining land use.

Owned by Stanwell, Meandu Mine currently has four working pits and is capable of supplying the adjacent Tarong power stations with up to seven million tonnes of coal a year.

Why rehabilitate?

Stanwell has undertaken progressive rehabilitation of Meandu Mine in Queensland’s South Burnett region since acquiring the mine in 2008.  Stanwell will be required by legislation, to prepare a Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan (PCRP) and submit this to the Department of Environment and Science.

Our commitment to progressive rehabilitation is an important part of our mine planning process, and we regularly review our plans to ensure we are undertaking rehabilitation of mined land in a safe and sustainable manner.

Our environmental management activities on site extend to the rehabilitation of all areas impacted by mining activities, in order to achieve a final landform capable of supporting sustainable post-mining land use.

How much land has been rehabilitated?

Since the 1980s, more than 560 hectares (ha) of rehabilitation has been completed at Meandu Mine. This represents approximately 25 per cent of the area currently disturbed by mining activities. During FY2017/18 alone, our operations rehabilitated 43.1 ha, against a target of 42.6 ha – that’s the size of almost 42 rugby fields.

Getting it right

As part of Meandu Mine’s commitment to assessing the quality of our completed mine rehabilitation areas, we regularly engage external consultants to monitor the rehabilitation progress across the mine.

This monitoring has so far indicated that the rehabilitation is progressing well towards returning to a natural state (similar to the type of vegetation in the surrounding area), as required by the Meandu Mine Environmental Authority. Stanwell has engaged external specialists in mined land reclamation, to develop rehabilitation success criteria that we can use to measure the performance of the rehabilitation over time. Monitoring is undertaken to demonstrate that the rehabilitation is stable, non-polluting and that the final land use is sustainable into the future.

Key outcomes achieved so far include the growth of a diverse range of native tree and shrub species and the return of native wildlife (e.g. possums and birds) has been observed. We have also previously completed trials into commercial timber plantations, which showed potential suitability of hardwood trees for timber production.

Through this monitoring, we are provided with a measure of the quality of rehabilitation works, and a means to regularly assess and improve our performance in this space.

The image above shows the high proportion of progressive rehabilitation from Meandu Creek across to the active mine pit.