The following excerpt on green mining practices is from the 2007 Vale Inco sustainability report. The full report is available at: Vale Inco – Sustainability Report 2007.
In 2007, Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources honoured PT Inco with a Gold Award (Aditama Award) for its success in post-mining land reclamation. The company also received the Aditama Award from the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources as the best performer, among 40 mining companies evaluated, for its commitment to and success in post-mining land reclamation.
“We are very proud to have received this recognition,” says Dwayne Kroll, Manager of Mine Technology at PT Inco. “We are passionate about environmental responsibility at PTI. Particularly, we are committed to doing all that we can to rehabilitate the land that we have mined.”
PT Inco’s 2.5 hectare nursery – the largest in Indonesia’s mining industry – is living proof of that commitment. Located in the town of Sorowako, it has the capacity to grow one million seedling trees annually. In 2007, the nursery enabled the company to revegetate 150 hectares of post-mining land and restore 37 types of vegetation to 100 hectares of rehabilitated post-mining land. “Our revegetation program involves a two-step process,” explains Kroll. “After we re-contour the mined land and restore topsoil, we plant grasses, legumes and canopy trees to foster a microclimate suitable for native species restoration. The introduction of indigenous plants takes place after approximately two years.”
PT Inco’s land rehabilitation program – which has resulted in the reclamation of 3,000 hectares of land to date – has another goal. It is to play an active role in the company’s ‘soft landing’ strategy, designed to help the transition of communities, once the useful life of local mines has ended.
“We aim to optimize the use of local resources at every stage of our rehabilitation activities,” says Kroll. “For instance, there are currently some 270 local people employed in reclamation activities including fertilizer production, seed collection and planting.”
To further bolster economic diversity, PT Inco is also conducting a land-use study to determine what post-mining land might be reclaimed for farming. “We are looking at possibilities for developing small farms for local residents,” says Kroll. “According to our NGO colleagues, polyculture farming, where families can grow mixed crops, raise animals or operate fish ponds, is one of the best ways to help the poorest of the poor.”