Rehabilitation Principles and Commitments

All mines in the region undertake regular rehabilitation to provide temporary or final cover of land disturbed by mining. However, information about the industry as a whole hasn’t been easy to access or understand.
The joint working group has developed a set of common principles, agreed by the region’s eight coal producers, to drive improvements in the speed of rehabilitation and to provide aggregate data to the community about total land disturbed and rehabilitated.
The Rehabilitation Principles are outlined below, as well as links to individual company reports and aggregated yearly data reported since 2012.

Current Results 

To view an updated progress table along with notes and contextual information regarding the 2019 results, click the link below:

Rehabilitation Industry Principles & Committments - 2019 Results

Previous Results 

Summaries and analysis of previous results is also available to view via the links below:

Rehabilitation Industry Principles & Committments - 2018 Results and Insights

Rehabilitation Industry Principles & Committments - 2017 Results AND Trends


Measuring our progress - Rehabilitation Reporting

A large proportion of the coal mining in the Upper Hunter region is known as ‘open cut’ mining which means that there are areas of disturbed land that must be rehabilitated as part of the mining process.
The Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue Joint Working Group – Land Management has developed a set of principles and commitments that aim to decrease the periods of time that disturbed areas are left without temporary or final cover to minimise any impacts on the landscape or air quality.
This commitment means that each Upper Hunter coal producer will publicly report their progress against the principles each year.  We’ll also compile the total area of land disturbed and rehabilitated each year, which is another first for the industry. 


Annual Upper Hunter Company Rehabilitation Reports

Each year, sites provide a written report to accompany their figures that provides some additional information regarding their rehabilitation practices and priorities over the past reporting year. Please click the link below to access these reports.


Temporary and Final Rehabilitation Principles and Commitments

  1. Include rehabilitation planning in mine planning - Planning for rehabilitation should be integrated into the mine planning process and should include allocating adequate and dedicated resources to achieve the planned rehabilitation outcomes.
  2. Undertake progressive rehabilitation - Companies should undertake rehabilitation progressively, with the objective of ensuring that rehabilitation is as close as possible to active mining. 
  3. Minimise time that disturbed areas are left without vegetation - Companies should actively seek to minimise the time that land is left without cover during mining.  This should include:
    - Taking steps to ensure that rehabilitation is commenced within 12 months of land becoming available for rehabilitation.
    - Utilising methods of temporary rehabilitation[1], such as aerial seeding of overburden and other disturbed areas where permanent rehabilitation has not commenced.
  4. Prioritise areas of rehabilitation and temporary cover to reduce impacts - Companies should prioritise rehabilitation and temporary cover in those areas where leaving land exposed will have the most impact.  The following areas should be considered to have priority:
    - Areas that have the greatest impact on visual amenity, such as areas that face townships, residences, or the highway
    - Areas that have the potential to generate dust leaving the site.
    - Areas that are important for biodiversity, such as rehabilitation adjoining or providing connectivity to remnant vegetation.
  5. Meet target for rehabilitation progress identified in the Mining Operations Plan - Each company should meet the annual target for rehabilitation quantity (area) set in the Mining Operations Plans for each of its mines.
  6. Set quality targets for rehabilitation in the Mining Operations Plan and implement a monitoring program to measure performance - Each company should include quality targets for the various types of rehabilitation in the Mining Operations Plan for each of its mines.  A monitoring program to measure the performance of rehabilitation areas against the quality targets should be implemented at each of its mines.
[1] Temporary rehabilitation describes reshaping, revegetation and other rehabilitation techniques that are used for purposes other than final rehabilitation.  This includes such initiatives as seeding overburden emplacement areas to reduce erosion, which are only temporary.‚Äč