Rehab comes before coal

As MACH Energy and Thiess work toward full operations at Mount Pleasant, @ The Coalface saw recently just how hard they’re also working on pre-production rehab and making Muswellbrook a priority.

Mount Pleasant Environment Superintendent Klay Marchant and External Relations Manager, Ngaire Baker recently showed us around the operation so we could see first hand how site preparations are forging ahead to ensure the mine is in world class shape to be able to work harmoniously with the community and residents of Muswellbrook.

It was clear to us that both the Thiess and MACH team genuinely care about getting this right and that it is a commitment they are very serious about. Reducing impacts and getting a better outcome is a cornerstone of this mine’s development and it’s not something the people of Muswellbrook are going to have to wait to see.

As part of her role, Ngaire is in charge of community relations and she made it very clear, “At the end of the day we really want to look after Muswellbrook as much as we can. Striving to get it right and do it right is paramount. There’s a real sense of pride around this job. What we are doing here is crucial to the town and we fully understand that.”

MACH Energy is taking their obligations around dust and noise mitigation above and beyond regulatory requirements so that the mine is visually appealing prior to the commencement of full operations.

The team are committed to a sympathetic landform approach. Building an effective visual and noise barrier at Mount Pleasant is a priority to minimise dust and work is well underway with a natural sympathetic landform approach as opposed to the old style ‘bread loaf’ look.

Klay went on to explain, “It’s not going to look like your average bund. It’s going to have contours and peaks and valleys. An open grassy woodland with native grass, trees and shrubs plus a cover crop of Japanese millet to stabilise the soil and minimise dust impacts. This is a very important visual bund to Muswellbrook. Mitigating the visual and noise impacts are an absolute priority and good ground cover is vital to achieve that.”

We also saw that rock piles and stands of tree hollows have been incorporated to accommodate and promote a habitat for local fauna. Having only been installed a month earlier, on our visit we discovered a field mouse who has already taken up residence in one of the tree hollows. We collectively named him ‘Stuart Little’.

 

This is a mine that will develop via a strict program of progressive rehab. Klay said, “As soon as we have got dump available we’ll rehab it straight away. The biggest challenge at the moment is the drought. It’s making the job a bit more complex but in the context of what our local farmers are trying to contend with our problems there are insignificant to theirs, so we will just work for the best outcome under the conditions to achieve what needs to be done.”

It’s amazing to see how quick things can happen on a mine with the right sort of commitment. The mine has even constructed a high-quality sealed road for all light vehicle and non-heavy vehicle movements straight into the pit areas. There was no requirement to undertake the works but they believe it’s the right way to go about things.

Ngaire summed it all up, “What we say we are going to do, we will do.”