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Find out more about Glencore’s approach to rehabilitation

· 900 words, 6 min read
We are thrilled to have Glencore as our Platinum Sponsor for the upcoming Life of Mine Conference in Brisbane 2021. Life of Mine will explore the full life cycle of a mine from exploration to rehabilitation. Discover how Glencore is achieving sustainable outcomes during and after mining within their operations.

 

Glencore’s purpose is to responsibly source commodities advancing everyday life. Committed to robust environmental management, Glencore’s performance is focused on minimising our impact on the environment and surrounding communities during and after mining.

At Glencore, we integrate environmental considerations into our strategic planning, management systems and day-to-day operations. Our rehabilitation in New South Wales and Queensland is among the best in the mining industry and a great source of pride for our workforce.

In 2020, Glencore’s Australian coal operations completed progressive rehabilitation of more than 1,380 hectares of mined land, the fifth successive year that we have achieved the ambitious target of more than 1,000 ha in a year.

Glencore also received further Government sign-off for areas of this work during the year:

  • Oaky Creek Coal operation in central Queensland achieved certification for 133 ha of rehabilitation of former open cut workings.
  • Collinsville Open Cut mine, the oldest operating mine in Queensland, achieved sign off for 99 ha of rehabilitation over a previous mining area known as Belmore.
  • Former Westside open cut mine in the Hunter Region became the first in the NSW coal industry to achieve certification under contemporary mine rehabilitation completion criteria with sign-off for 38 ha of rehabilitation, and
  • Ulan Coal operation in central west NSW also achieved certification for 52 ha of rehabilitation.

Glencore sites have now made seven successful applications for certification in the past four years with almost 800 ha (equivalent to more than 1,300 football fields) signed off by Queensland and NSW Governments. Almost all of this has been achieved at active coal mining operations, reflecting Glencore’s commitment to ensuring that rehabilitation work is incorporated as far as practicable into the day-to-day operation of the mine.

Each of our coal operations are required to prepare an Annual Rehabilitation and Closure Plan (ARCP) as part of the budget cycle. The plans go beyond any regulatory requirement and provides for effective planning.

The development of a Rehabilitation Report Card has also been instrumental in assisting assessment of the status of any or all rehabilitation areas across Glencore’s Australian coal business against set rehabilitation success criteria (also known as completion criteria).

Glencore developed the Rehabilitation Report Card with the assistance of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation. The data is captured and stored in a Geographical Information System database for future reference, and the Report Card (in the form of a coloured map) is produced to show how well rehabilitation areas are performing. 

By embracing a more systematic and integrated approach to rehabilitation planning and delivery, a number of Glencore’s sites are already providing benchmark results with their rehabilitation.

Glencore Coal’s Land & Property Manager, Nigel Charnock, said further areas of rehabilitation at the company’s mining operations were being prepared for sign-off assessment.

“Planning for rehabilitation at all Glencore operations starts as early in the mine life as possible; with our contemporary mines this takes place before first coal is mined,” he explained.

“Rehabilitation is then scheduled into annual and short-term (daily) mine plans to ensure the work is adequately resourced, budgeted and delivered as part of ongoing mining operations…Our site rehabilitation has to be quality as well; that is, capable of meeting an agreed end land use, as is the case with those mines that have achieved Government sign-off to date.” 

Similarly, Glencore’s Queensland Metals business continues to progress with rehabilitation and closure planning works. A great example of this is the transformation of two former waste rock storage facilities at George Fisher Mine, near Mount Isa, as part of essential rehabilitation works.

Handlebar Hill and Magazine waste rock storage facilities were used during the mining of lead-silver-zinc at the Handlebar Hill open cut mine between 2007 and 2014.

Glencore's Mount Isa Mines began work on rehabilitating the sites in 2017. Since then, almost six million tonnes of earth has been moved as part of reshaping and creating a 1.5 metre thick cover layer of non-acid forming (NAF) capping material over the sites.

Queensland Metals Superintendent - HSEC Environmental Long Term Planning, Sarah McConnell, says rehabilitation works are an essential part of life of mine planning and Glencore’s social licence to operate in communities.

"We're committed to minimising environmental impacts from our operations and are undertaking about $50 million worth of work in 2020 and 2021 to restore mined land across our Queensland operations."

Queensland Metals Technical Services Manager, Jody Todd, says almost 230 hectares of shaping and capping has been completed at the sites.

"This is a complex project and incorporates much more than just earthworks, with a detailed geochemical and geotechnical field investigation project undertaken to provide input into the design," says Jody.

"With this information, and using both internal and external consultants, a finalised landform shape was modelled to provide a protective NAF capping and a final surface to design the 26 drainage channels used to protect the final cap from water run-off during storm events."

"By using landform evolution modelling and dynamic storm water modelling we will ensure the capping works effectively into the future."

To find out more about Glencore’s rehabilitation approach, visit www.glencore.com.au.

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