The current Queensland Government’s rehabilitation guidelines for post-mining landforms present a hierarchy of preferred outcomes for different areas within the mine site (see Figure 1). Within all areas, restoration of a ‘natural’ ecosystem is clearly prioritised as the preferred end land use, although it is not a mandatory practice. Beyond the official guidelines, there is also an implied preference for renaturalisation echoed in most environmental impact assessments and closure plans (Lamb, Erskine and Fletcher, 2015). In practice, however, ecosystem restoration does not extend to construction of a realistic topographic form, largely rejecting the ‘natural’ aesthetic implied by ecosystem restoration in favour of adopting a functional aesthetic in deference to standard engineering criteria.
This presentation argues that the established disconnection between actual and implied landform aesthetics is indicative of a wider problem around end landform planning. It contends that such disconnects are the result of the impact of competing ‘ways of seeing’ (Bradley and Kearney, 2007) the same landscape, and reflect the struggle between, and inclusion of, these differing perspectives within the planning process itself. We propose that recognition of the complexity of landscape perceptions is key to improving post-mining landscape outcomes, and the misalignment between land use values and landscape aesthetics can be addressed by establishing an overarching framework for landscape preferences. As such, we outline the reality of stakeholder landscape preferences, and present a critical response to current planning practices within the life-of-mine (LOM).
Hine, A and Erskine, P, 2016. Recognising and integrating stakeholder landform expectations into life-of-mine planning, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2016 Conference, pp 154–157 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).