Authors: Hattingh, R; Viljoen, C


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Hattingh, R & Viljoen, C 2006, 'Soil Water Retention Properties as the Key Driver for Rehabilitation', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2006: Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 351-358,

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Ticor South Africa is a heavy minerals mining and beneficiation operation on the east coast of South Africa. The company commenced operations in April 2001 with the opening of Hillendale Mine. This particular operation has a limited life (10 years), with the result that closure planning commenced four years after mining started. The pre-mining land use is commercial sugar cane production, and the measurement of post- mining rehabilitation success is therefore quantifiable. South Africa has a rapidly evolving legislation with regards to environmental issues. Major revisions of the national statutes regulating water consumption and use, mine environmental management, air quality management, biodiversity and general environmental management have taken place in the past decade. To compound the situation the different aspects are governed by a number of government departments. Although the state has made efforts to defragment the legislative environment, we still have a situation where the goalposts are changing and an operation is answerable to a host of regulators, with few or no standards against which the success of rehabilitation may be measured. Obtaining final mine closure in this specific context could therefore be problematic. For these reasons we decided to develop a rehabilitation and closure strategy from first principles. A series of workshops were held incorporating scientists from a number of backgrounds. From the workshops a strategy was compiled and series of projects generated aimed at achieving closure of the operations within two years of operations ceasing. This closure strategy as well as subsequent work showed that the soil water retention properties of the top layer of the backfilled dunes are one of the most important issues to address during rehabilitation. The intent of this paper is to introduce the concept of a phased, fundamental approach to rehabilitation, as dictated by the key drivers in the system.

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Soil Water Retention Properties as the Key Driver for Rehabilitation R. Hattingh, C. Viljoen
358 Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia

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