Glencore has earned a government certification for its rehabilitation efforts at the Westside open cut coal site in New South Wales.
The company reported the return of 69 native fauna species, including 11 threatened species since final rehabilitation of the mine was completed in 2012.
Rehabilitation of the 38 hectares of land has met all rehabilitation objectives and closure criteria set out by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment, the resources regulator and the division of resources and geoscience.
This is a first for the New South Wales’ coal industry under the government’s mine rehabilitation criteria.
Glencore produced coal for domestic power generators from the Westside open cut mine between 1992 and 2012.
Company environment and community manager at Westside, Ben Clibborn said the mine had maintained a very strong focus on progressive rehabilitation during its operations and set a high standard under rigorous criteria being applied to mine closure.
“The focus on progressive rehabilitation throughout the operational phase meant final rehabilitation of the mine was completed in April 2012, just two months after mining finished,” Clibborn said.
“The site has been returned to bushland consisting of native vegetation communities that are characteristic of the local environment and landform type.”
This government certification follows a similar first for coal mine rehabilitation at Glencore’s Newlands operations in the Bowen Basin, Queensland.
Glencore land and property manager Nigel Charnock said further areas of rehabilitation at Westside were being prepared for sign-off agreement, as well as areas at Ulan coal operations in the state’s mid-west.
The company achieved more than 1000 hectares of rehabilitation last year across New South Wales and Queensland, with over 1300 hectares being seeded.
“But it is not just about quantity. Our site rehabilitation has to be quality as well; that is, capable of meeting an agreed end land use, as is the case with Westside,” Charnock concluded.