Mine Rehabilitation and Indigenous Engagement

Background

Mining in Australia has long been a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. Numerous operations are located in the more remote regional areas on or in close proximity to Indigenous lands. Hence, many redundant mine sites have left negative impacts on the communities and their land. 

 

 

Problem

Tailing dam dusts pose a significant risk to both the environment and human health. Tailing dam sediments are high in heavy metal contamination, including selenium, zinc, nickel, copper, aluminum, iron, manganese, cadmium and lead. Stormwater runoff poses a significant erosion risk to tailings dams where sediments are then displaced and discharged into surface water bodies, polluting local waterways and effecting local flora and fauna.

Due to the poor soil conditions, natural vegetation growth can be slow, if at all, resulting in tailings dams being left exposed for several years or even decades following mine closure. Indigenous communities are often left to live with the impacts and consequences.

Solution

Vital Chemical was engaged to provide advice on the best short-term solution to stabilise tailings dams to minimise negative social and environmental impacts, until longer-term solutions were planned.

An application of Vital Bon-Matt Stonewall (IGD) at 10% dilution was recommended to stabilise the surface of the tailings dam to minimise dust generation, erosion and stormwater contamination. The Indigenous people of the far North Queensland Region were consulted before any work was undertaken. The sustainable and biodegradable properties of Vital products were explained and aligned with community and cultural expectations.

Benefit

In this instance, Vital Bon-Matt Stonewall (IGD) was guaranteed for a period of 12 months to provide the required 80% stabilisation of the tailings dam surface.

  • Immediate stabilisation of 10 hectares of contaminated material
  • Provided the client time to investigate and plan long-term solutions in consultation with the local Indigenous community
  • Positive social, cultural and community engagement
  • Reduced environmental impact and improved outcomes for waterways and air quality
  • The main thoroughfare to the community centre has now been diverted directly parallel to the tailings dam, where fine dust particles were once a health and safety issue, the elimination of this risk has enabled a shorter, safer road to be formed.

Vital Bon-Matt Stonewall

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