Have You Understood What Reclamation Is and its Purpose?
Reclamation is defined as a land expansion that is carried out by utilizing an area that was not previously used. Reclamation cannot be done haphazardly, usually, this land expansion has its own goals behind it.
This article will try to discuss the various objectives of carrying out environmental reclamation, as well as examples of successful post-mining environmental reclamation. To get details of the topics mentioned, see the full explanation in the following points.
Environmental reclamation activities have several goals that are useful for the survival of the community around the post-mining area. The purpose of this post-mining reclamation activity covers several sectors of life.
1. Improving Land Conditions and Avoiding Erosion
One of the goals of expanding the land is to improve the condition of previously damaged land. Usually, conditions like this often occur in post-mining areas.
Mining activities, especially open mining (Opened Mining), leave large holes around the earth’s surface. Most of the mining workers left the area without re-covering the post-mining pits. When these large holes are exposed to large amounts of rainwater, the soil around them will erode. Environmental reclamation in mining areas can improve the condition of land with holes after mining so that land erosion can be avoided.
2. Restore Flora and Fauna and Increase Biodiversity
After mining activities, land degradation generally occurs with inaccurate land management, causing chemical and environmental changes that reduce the diversity of flora and fauna around mining.
Reclamation is one of the efforts to restore Biodiversity and improve land conditions to become more productive land. The diversity of flora and fauna is an indicator of the success of post-mining environmental reclamation.
3. Managing Acid Mine Moisture Content
Acidic water content in mining areas has a negative impact on the environment. Because it contains various heavy metals, acid mine drainage is toxic, so it cannot be consumed by living things and can affect changes in soil structure. One of the efforts to reduce the acid water content is to neutralize the water by adding quicklime to the PH of acid mine water.
The three points above describe the purpose of the environmental reclamation process and its benefits for the surrounding environment.
Example of Reclamation
At this point, we will explain examples of the expansion process that has been carried out in several regions abroad. Read more on the following points.
1. Business & Logistics Center in Pennsylvania
In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, a 25-acre ex-coal mining area was reclaimed to become a logistics hub. Earth Conservancy made the former mining land usable again, and it was eventually purchased by NorthPoint.
Development which turned it into a logistics center. Companies such as Adidas, Chewy.com, and Patagonia are now also leasing the land and creating around 2,000 jobs in the area.
Not only in Pennsylvania, Earth Conservancy has also carried out reclamation of ex-mining land in various states in America. The ex-mining land of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s is slowly being cleared and used for various uses, such as office parks, distribution centers, housing, and recreation. Ostrowski, CEO of Earth Conservancy, estimates that since 2014, their reclamation projects have returned around 600 hectares of ex-mining land to productive use and created around 3,700 new jobs.
2. Underground Railroad Sightseeing Tour at Portal 31 Mine, Kentucky
Lynch, Kentucky, was once the world’s largest coal city and a destination for workers from all over the world. In the city, there is an environmental reclamation project that aims to address flooding issues at two underground mine portals, refurbish a coal mine exhibition at one of the portals, and renovate the public baths and the mining company’s historic administrative building.
3. Livestock Grazing in Mongolia
Environmental reclamation at the Green mine poses a significant challenge due to its extremely remote location. Restoration equipment and materials had to be shipped over five months, and a crew of 60 had to spend most of their time at the mining campsite. The results of the environmental reclamation succeeded in turning 44 hectares of ex-mining land into clean pastures, which are currently used for cattle grazing by Mongolian shepherds.
As well as environmental reclamation, easier access to potable water was established, and a surface pond was created for local grazing animals. With material support and technical knowledge regarding environmental reclamation, plant growth is four times faster than the surrounding land.
4. Recreational Parks in Northumberlandia
In 2012, Northumberlandia carried out mine reclamation. The Northumberland area sits at the crossroads between a public land project and a mining operation, with a landscaped sculpture at the center of a 46-acre community park, which adjoins the still-operating Sutton Surface Mine.
As part of the reclamation, landscape architects were commissioned to design Northumberlandia in the shape of a leaning female figure. This structure was built using materials excavated from nearby mines. The result of this reclamation is a park that can be visited by the public free of charge.
5. Solar Installation in Virginia
In Virginia, environmental reclamation of abandoned mine sites is being used to increase clean energy. A 13-acre ex-mining site in Wise County, Virginia, will be reclaimed into a solar power facility that will provide up to 3 megawatts of clean energy for the data center. This solar installation project supplies approximately 20% of the energy power and contributes approximately $1.2 million in revenue to the local economy.
Talking about the process of reclamation of ex-mining land, SUCOFINDO provides service mineral mining consultancy and infrastructure to support mineral mining activities from mine planning to post-mining processes.
One of these consulting services can provide various solutions related to the reclamation process, which, of course, comply with national standards and regulations.SUCOFINDO is present to restore the post-mining environment together.