Authors: Kotzé, H; Hattingh, R; Ballot, C

Paper is not available for download
Contact Us


Cite As:
Kotzé, H, Hattingh, R & Ballot, C 2008, 'Economical Viability of Rehabilitated Sugarcane Agriculture', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett, I Weiersbye & P Dye (eds), Mine Closure 2008: Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 705-714,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

Surface mining of heavy minerals is conducted on the east coast of South Africa. The resultant disturbed land is rehabilitated to sugarcane agriculture (its pre-mining land use) by capping the backfilled sand dunes with a layer of a sand-slimes mixture. The required composition and thickness of this layer was modeled with the predicted sugarcane yields as a primary output variable. Both the composition and thickness of the layer are significant in determining the water-holding capacity of the reconstituted soil, which in turn is a determining factor of the sugarcane yield. Sugarcane yield results obtained from the first harvest off rehabilitated land compare favorably with the predicted model results - and typical yield numbers from similar neighboring farming operations. A business case model for rehabilitated farmland is used to determine the breakeven sugarcane yield for positive revenue to cash cost. Since cane yield is, to an extent, a function of the sand-slimes layer thickness, the resultant breakeven yield numbers are used to confirm the optimum layer thickness previously calculated and reported from a soil perspective. It is furthermore shown that like most other sugarcane producers, the rehabilitated land is sensitive to the currently prevailing adverse economic conditions in the sugarcane industry.

Annandale, J.G., Benadé, N., Jovanovic, N.Z., Steyn, J.M. and Du Sautoy, N. (1999) Facilitating Irrigation Scheduling
by Means of the Soil Water Balance Model, Water Research Commission Report No. 753/1/99, Pretoria, South
Esprey, L. (2008) Hillendale rehabilitation: rehabilitation mix project - model verification, Internal report, April 2008.
Groom, G. (2008) South African Cane Growers’ Association regional economist, May.
Hattingh, R. and Viljoen, C. (2006) Soil water retention properties as the key driver for rehabilitation, Mine Closure
2006, Perth, Australia, October, pp. 351-358.
Hattingh, R., Linstrom, C., Krantz, R., Viljoen, C., Jovanovic, N. And Kotzé, H. (2007) Reconstituted soils: a
probabilistic approach to resolve aspects relating to the sustainability and economic viability of the rehabilitation
of mined lands, Mine Closure 2007, Santiago, Chile, October, pp. 261-271.
Phatisa Equity (2008) Business plan for Exxaro KZN Sands Hillendale farming operations, Internal report, June.
SACaneGrowers (2008) South African Cane Growers’ Association Annual report 2007/08,
, accessed June 2008.
SACGA (2008) South African Cane Growers’ Association planting costs - mechanical land preparation - 2008/09
season guide.
SASA (2008), accessed 24 June 2008.
SASRI (2008) Mechanisation report no. 1 - 2008 update,, accessed May 2008.
Singels, A., Kennedy, A.J. and Bezuidenhout, C.N. (1998) Irricane: A simple computerised irrigation scheduling
method for sugarcane, Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technology Association, 72, pp. 117-122.
The Cane Grower (2007) The newsletter of the South African Cane Growers’ Association, 14 (4), July.
The Cane Grower (2008) The newsletter of the South African Cane Growers’ Association, 15 (3), June.
Van Genuchten, M. (1980) A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils, Soil
Science Society of America Journal, 44, pp. 892-898.

© Copyright 2024, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to