Mulligan, DR, Gillespie, MJ, Gravina, AJ & Currey, NA 2006, 'An Assessment of the Direct Revegetation Strategy on the Tailings Storage Facility at Kidston Gold Mine, North Queensland, Australia', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 371-381.
A closure objective of Kidston Gold Mines Limited was to return a self-sustaining savannah woodland
vegetation of native trees and introduced and native ground cover species to areas disturbed by its Kidston
mining operation. One of the major areas of disturbance was the 310 ha tailings storage facility (TSF) into
which approximately 68 Mt of tailings were deposited between 1985 and 1996. Early revegetation trials
conducted in the early-mid 1990s demonstrated the capacity of the tailings to support vegetation growth
without the requirement for a capping layer of soil or other cover material. The tailings storage facility was
decommissioned at the end of 1997 and as the accessible area on the surface of the facility became
progressively available (from March 1998 through to December 2001), planting and seeding of over 50
native tree and shrub species and 8 introduced and native pasture species was undertaken. With the support
of drip irrigation over the first few months and initial fertilisation, the alkaline tailings have proven to
successfully support the establishment and growth of a range of native tree and shrub species. Greatest
success with upper-and mid-storey species has been where competition from introduced grasses has been
Since 2001, up to four areas of different aged rehabilitation across the surface of the TSF have been
monitored on an annual or biennial basis by The University of Queensland's Centre for Mined Land
Rehabilitation (CMLR). The overall aim of the Kidston monitoring program has been to assess the
progressive development, functioning and composition of the rehabilitation areas prior to relinquishment by
the company. This paper presents some background on rehabilitation works and research trials undertaken on
the tailings and reports on the most recent findings from the vegetation monitoring that has been conducted
on the four TSF sites (TD40, TDNA, TDNB and CTD) in the period 2001 to 2005. The 2005 findings are
presented in relation to two unmined analogue communities and preliminary rehabilitation targets.
Monitoring against these interim targets has proven to be a valuable process for tracking the structural and
functional development of these vegetation communities. In addition, an ongoing assessment of the tailings
attributes contributes to our understanding of soil development processes and hence the longer–term
sustainability of the reconstructed ecosystem as the company aims towards lease relinquishment.
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Ecosystem Reconstruction and Pedogenesis
Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia 381