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, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_28
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