Rehabilitation of a Mine

Nicholas Soraghan

 

According to Geelong City Council’s General Manager of Planning and Development, Peter Bettess, the committee found the Bisinella quarry proposal unsatisfactory, particularly in terms of the economic, visual, amenity and traffic outcomes that were involved.

 
The entrance to one of the sand quarries near the You Yangs.

The entrance to one of the sand quarries near the You Yangs.

 
 

With seven quarries in the immediate vicinity, rehabilitation of sand mines is now extremely important in safeguarding the land.

The Victorian Government’s Code of Practice for Small Quarries, states that an efficient, effective and progressive rehabilitation process should be undertaken through most stages of digging. The Work Authority holder is required to: ‘ensure that progressive rehabilitation of disturbed land is carried out as soon as possible, ensure that the site is left in a stable condition, minimise erosion of final landforms and transportation of sediment offsite, provide a stable self-sustaining cover that protects the rehabilitation asset, and monitor and maintain a site until the rehabilitation is stable, safe and self-sustaining’ (Victorian Government 2016, Figure 6.1-6.5).

Barry White explained claims that there are loopholes for developers, including opening a disused mine once a week to show action, in order to avoid this sustainability scheme. These loopholes are easily found because of no nation-wide legislation on the issue, with a Minerals Institute paper stating that governing body has different programs in place, where certain elements were more developed than others.

A Minerals Institute Paper, Maturity of jurisdictional abandoned mine programs in Australia based on web-accessible information, suggests that these loopholes are easily found because of no nation-wide legislation on the issue, stating that each state-based governing body has different programs in place, where certain elements are more developed than others.

“A systematic approach to monitoring and evaluating abandoned mines programs is essential for accountability as it can demonstrate liability reduction over time and continual improvement.”

David Withington from Bisinella Developments says the State Government Council administrators are partly to blame for failing to enforce their own Code of Practice when it comes to quarry rehabilitation.

“The Holcim and Hanson quarry has been an ugly blot on the landscape for more than a decade and the City of Greater Geelong and the State Government have failed to use their enforcement powers to do anything about it."

“The Hillview Sand Pty Ltd quarry across the road is another example of poor landscaping and rehabilitation practices, with a big mound of unplanted dirt screening the quarry from the road."

“As a new entrant to the quarrying industry, we were planning to introduce extraction and rehabilitation processes that are far cleaner and greener than the methods used by any of the existing quarries.”

 

 

Before and After

 
 
 

The proposed sand quarry site by Bisinella Development and an un-rehabilitated sand quarry, owned by Hanson Holcim. Both are situated beside one another.

 

 

What Next?

Joshua Tay

 
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After such a momentous victory, the soldiers of the Lara Care Group are currently in rest. But what next?

On the 25th of September, Bisinella Developments announced that the company will not go to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to challenge the council decision. ‘Bisinella is not prepared to invest further funds in legal proceedings to correct the Administrators’ hasty and ill considered refusal,’ the company said in a statement.

What remains undone, is the rehabilitation of the other mines around the You Yangs, and this is something all parties agree with, even the developers. ‘It would be in the interests of the quarrying industry and the wider community if Holcim and Hanson were forced to rehabilitate their Sandy Creek Road site before consideration were given to any application to re-open the quarry.’

The Lara Care Group supports the idea to make the land a tourist attraction, enticing people to come and enjoy the nature of the You Yangs. But for Barry protection of the land is still key. ‘They don’t want to come and look at a hole in the ground. They want to come and look at the wildlife and bushland, and we need to preserve the pristine nature of it.’

The battle may have been won, but the war is far from over.


 
 

Acknowledgements

Victorian Government 2016, ‘Code of Practice for Small Quarries’, Energy and Earth Resources, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, retrieved from <http://www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/earth-resources-regulation/licensing-and-approvals/sand-stone-and-clay/guidelines-and-codes-of-practice/code-of-practice-small-quarries >.

Unger, C J, Lechner, A M, Walton, A, Glenn, V, Edraki, M and Mulligan, D R, 2014. Maturity of jurisdictional abandoned mine programs in Australia based on web-accessible information, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2014 , pp 467–480 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).

TLC Group Lara Inc. 2012, ‘Current Affairs and Community News’, laracaregroup.com, retrieved from <http://www.laracaregroup.com/CurrentEventsNews.html> .

Rowe, D 2013, ‘Lara Heritage Review’, Authentic Heritage Services Pty Ltd, February 2013, retrieved from <https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/common/public/documents/amendments/8d26696aa679ade-LaraHeritageReviewVOL2-26Feb13Exhibition.pdf> .

Trust Advocate 2015, ‘You Yangs Sand Mine’, National Trust of Australia, retrieved from <http://www.trustadvocate.org.au/you-yangs/>.

Bisinella Developments 2016, ‘Bisinella quarry proposal: information for the community’, Bisinella.com, July 2016, retrieved from <http://www.bisinella.com.au/news/bisinella-quarry-proposal-information-for-the-geelong-community/>...

 
 
L-R | Barry White, Nicholas Soraghan (reporter), Sally Nicholas, Joshua Tay Hanwen (reporter), Wan Li Loh (reporter)

L-R | Barry White, Nicholas Soraghan (reporter), Sally Nicholas, Joshua Tay Hanwen (reporter), Wan Li Loh (reporter)

 
 

Reported for COMM2675: Professional Communication Studio

Special thanks to: Barry White and the Lara Care Group, RMIT University Media & Communications Department,

Editors: Naomi Blackman, Raphael Solarsh, Lucinda Strahan

Reporters: Nicholas Soraghan, Joshua Tay Hanwen, Wan Li Loh

Video Editing: Joshua Tay Hanwen

(Images original unless otherwise stated)