Spain, AV, Hinz, DA, Ludwig, JA, Tibbett, M & Tongway, DJ 2006, 'Mine Closure and Ecosystem Development ⎯ Alcan Gove Bauxite Mine, Northern Territory, Australia', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 299-308.
Closure is a critical phase of a mining operation since this is when the environmental effects of mining and
rehabilitation works will be most stringently judged. Since the time scales required for biological community
development and soil formation are long in comparison to mining operation life cycles - and to human life
spans - it is normally only possible to demonstrate the early trajectories of these processes. However,
favourable and predictable closure outcomes can usually be achieved by making early decisions on post-
mining land use, ensuring close integration of mining with incremental rehabilitation works and adequate
monitoring. This assumes that a successful system of rehabilitation is available for the materials and
environments involved and takes no account of threats or stressors.
This paper defines the stages of early post-rehabilitation ecosystem and soil development on highly-
weathered soil materials at the Alcan Gove Mine using information derived from studies of selected sites
from a 26-year chronosequence of sites and local native forest sites. Specifically, we seek to determine the
stage at which a high probability of successful ongoing development may be credibly assumed in the absence
of further management inputs of energy and materials and in relationship to potential external threats.
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programme. Australian Mining Industry Council, Seventeenth Annual Environmental Workshop, Yeppoon,
Queensland, 5-9 October, 1992, pp. 102-114.
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operation. Australian Mining Industry Council, Seventeenth Annual Environmental Workshop, Yeppoon,
Queensland, 5-9 October, 1992, pp. 88-99.
Reddell, P., Spain, A.V., Milnes, A.R., Hopkins, M., Hignett, C.T., Joyce, S. and Playfair, L.A. (1992) Bauxite mining
and Walyamirri, the return of the living environment, paper three, indicators of ecosystem recovery. Australian
Mining Industry Council, Seventeenth Annual Environmental Workshop, Yeppoon, Queensland, 5-9 October,
1992, pp. 115-127.
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ecosystem recovery in rehabilitated areas of the open strip bauxite mine, Gove, Northern Territory. Unpublished
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Australian soils. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 38, 411-421.
Spain, A.V., Hinz, D., Ludwig, J., Tibbett, M. and Tongway, D. (2005) Ecosystem development after bauxite mining in
northern Australia: processes, patterns of development and the achievement of rehabilitation targets. Proceedings
of the 1st International Forum on the Ecological Construction of Beijing. Beijing, 26-27th October, 2005, pp.
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from an Andic Palehumult in West Cameroon. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 100, pp. 193-200.
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indicators, final report,
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J.E. and M.A. Gill (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 282-304.
Mine Closure and Ecosystem Development
― Alcan Gove Bauxite Mine, Northern Territory, Australia
A.V. Spain, et al.
308 Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia