Rehabilitation & Closure

Rehabilitation of areas subject to mining is a major focus of Iluka's  environmental management activities.
 
The company has an established record of land rehabilitation over several decades. Iluka's rehabilitation credentials have been an important component of the company gaining access to new mining areas, particularly where mining has not been a common part of land usage patterns.
 

​​Objectives

The company’s overarching rehabilitation strategy is to ensure over a five year period, that rehabilitation rates exceed the rate of new land disturbance. In most cases, Iluka is required to rehabilitate disturbed areas to land uses similar to those that existed prior to mining.

Iluka manages a diverse range of land uses including native vegetation across a range of climate zones and agriculture.  

Rehabilitation objectives are determined in consultation with landowners, regulatory authorities and technical experts, and plans are developed for reconstruction of soil profiles, landform shapes and re-establishment of the agreed vegetation. Where practicable, rehabilitation occurs progressively with ongoing mining activity.

​​Approach

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

  1. Planning – closure plans developed during the feasibility phase of project.    
  2. Pre-mining – seed-collection, removal of vegetation (potential use as mulch for soil stabilisation or rehabilitation), topsoil stripped and stockpiled.    
  3. 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.    
  4. 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.

Rehabilitation practices​​

Refer below for case studies on Iluka's rehabilitation practices.

​Research Partnerships

Iluka conducts research projects, where necessary, to support rehabilitation planning and activities. Key research partnerships include:

  • University of Adelaide - research plant-soil-water relations at the Jacinth-Ambrosia mine site, with the funding support of the Australian Research Council Linkage Program 
  • University of Western Australia - study and rehabilitate Kwongan heathland at Iluka’s Eneabba mine in Western Australia    
  • Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Western Australia – biodiversity research projects (propagation of threatened flora and investigating conservation genetics)    
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, United States - to measure reclamation outcomes by comparing post mining crop yields with crop yields in adjacent undisturbed farmlands, and average crop yields in the surrounding region.

Iluka was the recipient of the 2014 South Australian Premier’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its collaborative approach to rehabilitation with research institutions. This award that rehabilitation activities are striving to achieve not only compliance with licence conditions but identifying industry best practice and contributing to the broader understanding of revegetation in saline and arid environments.

Iluka participates in the international mine closure community and is the Principal Sponsor for the International Mine Closure Conference 2016.  Additionally, Iluka’s in house Principal Rehabilitation Scientist presented at the annual Mine Closure Conference 2015 held in Canada in June 2015.

Refer below for fact sheets on partnerships.

​​Case Studies and Fact Sheets