Cost-Effective Native Revegetation on Alluvial Tin Mining Sites in the New England Region of New South Wales

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Tin mining has taken place in the New England region of New South Wales since 1872. Until fairly recent times there was little pro- vision made for environmental protection. Mining methods,which included ground sluicing and open cutting,had considerable environmental impact. Much of the topsoil was lost and there is little vegetation on the infertile and at times toxic, subsoil. Thus much of the lands disturbed by mining have not been stabilised and are eroding, causing extensive pollution of adjacent watercourses. There are more than 1500ha of abandoned tin mine sites in the New England, representing one of the worst rehabilitation problems in New South Wales and reflecting poorly on the mining industry as a whole. Recent tin mining operations incorporate progressive rehabilitation in their mining cycle. Topsoil is stockpiled and later respread. This topsoil contains a seed source, facilitating revegetation and thus stabilisation. The tin mining industry, under considerable cost pressures at present, is seeking a cost- effective revegetation technique. Most of the mines in the New England are situated in a forest environment. Trials have been conducted in the past using exotic pasture species with limited success due to the characteristics of the subsoil. Other revege- tation trials have used pine or eucalypt tree species. The cost of these techniques is a major disadvantage. Certain acacias species were observed colonising disturbed tin mining areas on very infertile subsoils. Acacias have a number of characteristics indicating a possible applic- ations in mine rehabilitation programmes.
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