Open Cut » Environment
This project investigated the validity of visual assessment by stakeholders as a method of evaluating land rehabilitation and demonstrating that it has achieved the rehabilitation objectives. Research phases comprised:
- Review of stakeholder engagement practice, particularly with respect to its value and acceptance in natural resource management.
- Case study at a mature opencut coal mine involving stakeholders prioritising rehabilitation objectives, nominating visual indicators, and inspecting three areas in the context of those indicators.
- Interpretation of inspection results to assess their usefulness and credibility.
The project found that stakeholders were keen to be involved in this specific and active manner and that they brought valuable understanding of land use requirements. Under a fair and transparent process, the different interest groups were able to compromise and work together to evaluate the case sites. The inspection results showed that stakeholders were confident in assigning “scores” to a range of visual indicators, were not influenced by mine personnel, and were able to provide a consensus result for most issues.
The study addressed the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Guideline 18: Rehabilitation requirements for mining projects and demonstrated that it is feasible to develop Visual Inspection by Stakeholder Panel to provide indicators and completion criteria for rehabilitated land.