Closure planning begins before mining starts. Closure plans are prepared as part of feasibility studies and are then updated as the operation moves through the project life cycle until the stage where the plan contains sufficient detail to allow for its execution during the final stages of operation.
Phases of rehabilitation
- Planning – closure plans developed during the feasibility phase of project.
- Pre-mining – seed-collection, removal of vegetation (potential use as mulch for soil stabilisation or rehabilitation), topsoil stripped and stockpiled.
- Post-mining– mining pit or void backfilled and covered with stockpiled soils to recreate soil profile and final landform, ripping of soil may be conducted to encourage plant growth.
- Monitoring – rehabilitated areas are monitored for several years to measure the performance of the rehabilitated landscape.
Iluka has a team of multi-disciplinary technical experts who work to integrate best closure and rehabilitation practice across all phases of mine planning and development. There are over 35 rehabilitation specialists based on-site across all of Iluka’s operational sites, including mineral separation plants, projects and mining sites.
Iluka’s rehabilitation teams are continually looking for opportunities to enhance closure and rehabilitation practices across sites. Through investing in new technology or using existing technology innovatively, Iluka has been able to:
- improve rehabilitation outcomes, through enhanced planning and understanding of natural landforms and vegetation;
- improve the integration of rehabilitation practices with active operations; and
- contribute to time and financial efficiencies.
During 2014, Iluka rehabilitated 520 hectares of land in Australia and the United States. Overall land disturbance of 331 hectares for the year occurred, with an overall reduction of 189 hectares of open land being achieved.