The Dialogue has researched a variety of potential beneficial post-mining land uses for mine voids that will benefit Upper Hunter communities in the future.
One of the long-term community concerns associated with mining in the Upper Hunter is what will happen to the mining assets once active mining ceases in the region? To better understand this consideration, the Dialogue has undertaken a project looking into the various potential options for rehabilitating mine voids so they can help make a positive contribution to the region long after mining has ended.
A key component of this project involved a comprehensive literature review of how voids worldwide have been re-used and a preliminary assessment of these potential options in light of the environmental, economic, social and regulatory context of the Upper Hunter. A range of beneficial end use opportunities may be applicable to the Upper Hunter, including:
- Lakes and water storage;
- Wildlife habitat;
- Housing developments; and
- Recreation and sporting venues.
The project also involved the development of a water quality monitoring guidance note for industry as water quality was identified as a key factor in determining sustainable, practicable and beneficial end uses for pit lakes.
The Dialogue hopes the outcomes of this study may assist the community and industry in the ongoing consideration of the post-mining future of the Upper Hunter by providing realistic options to guide their planning for the future land use throughout active mining and post-closure.
The review showed that many mining companies throughout the world are actively planning beneficial end uses for residual mine voids and engaging stakeholders, including local communities, in this closure planning.
The Dialogue will continue to collaborate and actively engage with Upper Hunter mining operations, government and the community stakeholders on to research and promote potential beneficial end use opportunities for mining voids in the region.
There are many potential opportunities for beneficial post-mining land use in the Upper Hunter, and it will take a sustained and cooperative effort on behalf of all key stakeholders (including industry, local government, NSW government departments and agencies and the community) to identify and work towards achieving these outcomes.
Please click the link to view a summary report of the Dialogue’s Beneficial Reuse of Voids Project.