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As part of its ongoing work, the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue held a Pasture Restoration Field Day on October 14, bringing agronomists, government, community and industry stakeholders together for a day of sharing knowledge and seeing first hand, mine rehabilitation to pasture.

With forty participants in attendance, the field day provided a unique opportunity to visit areas of mine rehabilitation at the Liddell and Rix’s Creek operations that have been restored to pasture land.

A number of industry representatives shared their approaches, successes and challenges. Bloomfield Group Environment Manager, Chris Knight said, “We are proud of our rehabilitation efforts and it was wonderful to host such a broad range of important stakeholders to show that functional and sustainable grazing areas can be achieved creating a productive post-mining land use.”

“The cattle that graze on our site today are testament to the amazing pastures we have created using tropical grasses and ameliorants such as biosolids, and highlights how important this post mining land use is for the future of the Upper Hunter.”

Agronomist experts including local agronomist Neil Nelson (Neil Nelson Agvice) and Bob Freebairn (Coonabrabran District Agronomist) attended and shared their valuable knowledge and expertise.

Neil observed that “Despite the dry seasonal conditions, it was evident that the soil health is improving and supporting good pasture growth. It is impressive how with good planning, management and implementation, rehabilitation can produce pastures better than those originally growing in the disturbed areas.”

Dr. Suzanne Boschma and Dr. Sean Murphy from NSW Department of Primary Industries (Tamworth Agricultural Institute) also attended and were able to see first-hand the successes being achieved in pasture restoration, while offering their own experiences in developing sustainable pasture and livestock systems in inland NSW.

Dr Boshma and Dr Murphy were impressed by the enthusiasm and efforts of the restoration teams and the solutions they’ve been able to find to establish productive pastures on these challenging sites.

ATCF 10.1 Dialogue 2
Bloomfield Rix’s Creek.

“The Field Day created a great opportunity for problem solvers from different industries to come together in a collaborative and mutually respective manner and we look forward to seeing many more restored pastures across former mine lands”, Dr Boshma said.

Other organisations participating in the field day included representatives from the Singleton Beef and Land Management Association, NSW Farmers Association, Local Land Services NSW, Singleton Council, Muswellbrook Shire Council, NSW Resources Regulator, and NSW Department of Planning & Environment.

Jill Cox, Secretary of the Singleton Beef and Land Management Association said, “We all gained a positive insight into mine site restoration methods. We were quite impressed with the pasture and the fact that no one would know there had ever been a mine on the land.”

The idea for a combined briefing/discussion and field day came from Jeff Esdaile, a community member on the Dialogue Joint Environment Working Group, and from a recently published ACARP research project which the Dialogue supported, examining past and present mine rehabilitation to grazing land as a guide to future research.

Following the tour, Jeff commented that “Hunter Valley mining rehabilitation staff now have access to the latest trends to establish and maintain first class pastures on rehab land. Hopefully the exchange of ideas and experiences will continue to be a feature in the program, sharing ideas and learning from each other’s successes and failures.”

The Field Day highlighted the mining industry’s commitment to providing a positive legacy for Upper Hunter communities post-mining and the Dialogue is confident that learnings from the day will help to support continuous improvement and potentially better results in mine pasture research and restoration in the mining industry. 

For more information on any Dialogue projects or activities got to www.miningdialogue.com.au

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