Reclamation & restoration
The reclamation work that will be carried out in order to restore an area so that it becomes a natural part of the surrounding landscape again is part of the process right from the start, when a mine is still at the planning stage. Reclamation and conservation are also an integral part of the day-to-day operations and are conducted in parallel with them.
Boliden has a direct reclamation responsibility for some 30 active and closed down mining areas and conducts a systematic programme of monitoring and risk analyses for every area. Boliden has a strategic plan that extends over at least ten years for the reclamation of a number of prioritised, decommissioned mining areas, with measures planned and funds allocated.
Boliden’s goal is to use the best possible technology and to combine this with continuous monitoring of the work carried out. The specific area’s preconditions, such as infiltration, watercourses or groundwater levels are crucial in determining which method to use.
Some ongoing projects
Simonstown borrow pit
The Simonstown area near the Tara mine, for example, is currently being restored by planting a kilometre-long hedge. New hedgerow planting using native plants is part of the reclamation work at the Simonstown borrow pit. Overall the project will involve the re-establishment of 2,600 metres of hedgerows.
During the early stages of development the plants and shrubs must be protected from livestock and other animals, hence the wire fencing. Boliden works in partnership with a number of local authorities to make use of the sewage sludge from the municipal treatment works. Sewage sludge is a useful resource both in re-vegetation and in reclamation, primarily in that it fertilises the soil, retains moisture and protects against erosion. Boliden is also working in partnership with various universities to develop its reclamation methodology and a number of research projects are currently being carried out within the framework of our operations.
The Maurliden Östra mine, which was opened as recently as August 2010, is one project. The waste rock that cannot be used internally is deposited on a lime bed and then gradually covered with composite till. The lime used is an external waste product that can now be put to use, rather than being deposited in its own landfill, while the composite till used for covering purposes comes from stripping work at the mine. Continuous sorting of the industryspecific waste product – waste rock – reduces both the reclamation costs and those associated with acquiring material internally for installation purposes.
Covering the waste rock is a good example of how planning and clear instructions reduce environmental impact by conserving our natural resources and reducing the need to treat the leaching water from the landfill.