The Globe Progress Mine at Reefton, located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, transitioned to a restoration project in 2016 after 10 years of operations.
The Reefton Restoration Project is known for its comprehensive closure and rehabilitation program with works including: water treatment and ground preparation, waste rock reshaping, backfilling operations, landscape reshaping, pest control, spreading topsoil, and planting trees and weed control. Once complete, the site’s management will be returned to the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
At the end of May 2019, more than 101.1 hectares (of 250 hectares) have been completely rehabilitated. The backfill, topsoil and planting of the former Souvenir open pit have been completed and the final surface capping of the Fossickers tailing impoundment is under way.
The surface of the Fossickers tailings impoundment (about 16 hectares) will be included in the 2019 planting program. The final consented outcome for the impoundment incorporates a shallow lake, which is maintained to provide a minimum two-metre water cover above the tailings surface (that acts as a hydraulic seal). There will be riparian planting of native species on the lake’s margins and beaches. This methodology aligns with the restoration goal to ensure long-term stabilisation of the physical, chemical and ecological condition of the tailings impoundment.
Since commencing progressive rehabilitation in 2005, more than 603,000 manuka and beech trees have been planted. This includes approximately 106,000 in 2018 and, in 2019, we will plant approximately 106,000 more seedlings.
The former Globe Progress open pit mine (now the Globe Pit lake) is 9.8 metres below the designed spillway (or 80.23 per cent full and tracking within modelled natural-fill parameters). As it fills, the team conducts continuous sampling and modelling, including monitoring the temperature and conductivity of the water down to a depth of 30 metres.
In August 2018, we held an open day at the site and demonstrated our rehabilitation progress at the pit lake, waste rock stack, capping trials at the tailings impoundment and our innovative passive water treatment trials. We will hold at least one open day at the site in 2019.
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