Assessing risks of returning mined land to grazing in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland, Australia

Maczkowiack, R. I. and Smith, C. S. and Slaughter, G. J. and Mulligan, D. R. and Cameron, D. C. (2009) Assessing risks of returning mined land to grazing in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland, Australia. In: 4th International Conference on Mine Closure (MC 2009): Mine Closure, 9-11 Sep 2009, Perth, Australia.

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Regulation of mining in Queensland, Australia requires completed rehabilitation to result in the site being safe, stable, presenting no adverse off-site impacts and for a sustainable end use acceptable to stakeholders to be designated. By 2008, an estimated area of 70,000 ha of the coal-mining region of central Queensland had been disturbed by mining activities of which some one third has been rehabilitated. The remaining notional accrued rehabilitation liability exceeds A$1 billion.

Rehabilitation of mined land in central Queensland is performed by re-contouring spoil heaps to reduce
slope angles, applying a layer of topsoil, and planting various combinations of pasture grasses, shrubs and
trees. Approximately half of the rehabilitated areas have been revegetated using bushland species native to
the region and half to exotic pasture species suited to cattle grazing. Vegetation cover is valuable in
protecting the soil surface from the erosive forces of the often-intense summer rains that occur in the region.
Where pasture productivity is high, there is sufficient vegetation both to protect the soil surface and to
support grazing. This outcome has been demonstrated both theoretically and in small-scale trials. However,
inappropriate grazing management (overgrazing) may reduce the amount of vegetation cover below that
needed to protect the soil. The style of land management practised by the manager of the cattle is therefore
critical to the sustainability of grazing as an end use.

This paper reports on research into the management style likely to be used by the region’s graziers if
granted tenure of mined land. Graziers’ management style was modelled as being influenced by their
characteristics and circumstances. The chief influences were found to be:

• The financial stability of the grazier's business (25%).
• The effect of interventions that a company may take; for example, building respectful, trusting relationships with graziers (23%).
• Graziers' non-financial motives in seeking tenure of mined land (17%).
• Graziers' underlying rural values and attitudes to land management (14%).
• The property's operational flexibility (12%).
• The external climatic and economic environment (9%).

An understanding of factors that influence the grazing management of mined land can be used to assess risks, suggest interventions to reduce grazing risks, to guide the planning of future rehabilitation work, and to support a company's end use proposal to the regulator.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Copyright 2009. Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. No part of any ACG publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without the prior permission of the ACG. Published version deposited with permission of publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (1 Apr 2007 - 31 Dec 2010)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (1 Apr 2007 - 31 Dec 2010)
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2009 05:47
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 07:16
Uncontrolled Keywords: rehabilitation; mined land; central Queensland
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050207 Environmental Rehabilitation (excl. Bioremediation)
14 Economics > 1499 Other Economics > 149902 Ecological Economics
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380105 Environment and resource economics
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410405 Environmental rehabilitation and restoration
38 ECONOMICS > 3899 Other economics > 389902 Ecological economics
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961205 Rehabilitation of Degraded Mining Environments

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