24 August 2021
Whitehaven ramps up progressive rehabilitation at Maules Creek
Progressive rehabilitation at Maules Creek is well underway and already delivering significant environmental benefits.
The progressive rehabilitation process, which will ultimately see the site become a woodland forest of more than 1,000 hectares, has ramped up over the last 12 months with the team undertaking their largest tree planting campaign to date.
To date 40,000 trees have been planted across a 194 hectare rehabilitation which will ultimately see 79,500 trees planted by the end of the year.
Whitehaven has partnered with a Uralla-based provider to plant around 2,000 trees per day for the 2021 season using locally sourced and grown tubestock. The area has also been seeded with a White Box Gum Woodland seed mix to establish the understory and midstorey species.
The team will continue to monitor the rehabilitation area, including these trees, to assess their survival rates, understand how quickly they’re growing and review the success of the mixture of species to inform future rehabilitation.
As Maules Creek’s operations progress to in-pit dumping (placing overburden material in the pit rather than out of the pit), Whitehaven is targeting its out-of-pit emplacement areas for future progressive rehabilitation opportunities, improving the view of the mine from surrounding areas.
Over the next two years, another 80 hectares of rehabilitation are expected to become available, which will not only deliver more vegetation but also help to minimise potential sources of dust from non-vegetated overburden areas.
Maules Creek has transitioned to the use of geomorphic design into the future of its progressive rehabilitation program following a successful trial period
Geomorphic design is a best-practice landscape design process that encompasses a landscape’s natural features to move water through the rehabilitation area and produce more natural looking landforms. It generally requires less maintenance and provides greater stability once established, helping to create self-sustaining environments over the long-term.
So far, about 100 hectares of Maules Creek’s 194 hectare of rehabilitation has incorporated the fluvial geomorphic design, which is believed will lead to improved rehabilitation and visual outcomes for the environment and the community.
The rehabilitation work at Maules Creek is part of Whitehaven’s broader commitment to the environment, which involves conducting progressive rehabilitation across all of its mine sites in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
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