THE coal industry knows it has to lift its game on rehabilitation, although good progress was being made, an internationally attended conference on the subject in Newcastle heard this week.
The eighth annual “best practice ecological rehabilitation of mined lands” conference, hosted by the Tom Farrell Institute, was held at Wests New Lambton on Thursday, with inspection tours of the Westside and Donaldson mines taking place the day before.
Institute director Tim Roberts said about 270 people attended the conference, meaning it had doubled its size in attendance over the years. Dr Roberts said the conference delegates were a mixture of rehabilitation specialists, mining company representatives, students and community representatives.
“Mining in the Hunter is vast and will continue long past my lifetime with new leases opening up,” Dr Roberts said. “It is imperative that we plan for remediation of those lands before mining is begun.”
Dr Roberts, who writes a column each Monday for the Newcastle Herald, said that although the coal industry was widely criticised over its environmental record, the rehabilitation projects on display at the conference showed that progress was being made. The conference heard 12 presentations from 13 presenters, with another 29 shorter “poster” presentations.