A focus on boosting post-mining land uses in Bowen Basin

Published:11 July 2018

Mining image courtesy on Flickr Creative Commons

Specialists, landholders and interested community members will converge on Emerald to canvass some of the processes involved in transforming mines in the Bowen Basin back to agricultural and other land uses, as they reach the end of their mine life.

A forum on post-mining land uses will be held from 9 am to 2.30 pm on Wednesday 18 July, at Emerald’s Mayfair Ridge Tavern.

“Landholders and community members with an interest in the conversion of land back to agriculture are invited to participate,” says CQUniversity’s Professor John Rolfe.

“Speakers at the workshop include researchers, mining industry personnel, policymakers and landholders.

“There will be opportunities to ask questions, and an open forum session where participants can nominate issues for discussion relevant to post-mining land use change.”

People interested in attending the forum can contact Dr Delwar Akbar via or 0413 461 360, or Professor John Rolfe via or 0427 130 811. Attendance, including morning tea and lunch, is free of charge.

Professor Rolfe says that mining in the Bowen Basin is now a mature industry, with some mines coming to the end of their operating life.

“This means that, after appropriate rehabilitation and signoff, some mines will be closed in the future and the land transferred to other uses. Beef cattle grazing is expected to be the primary land use available.

“The Queensland Government regulates a mine closure, specifying the land has to be safe for humans and animals, stable, non-polluting and able to sustain a beneficial sequential land use that is acceptable to stakeholders, such as grazing or conservation.”

Professor Rolfe says successful mine closure goes beyond the regulatory process to engage with local communities.

“The views of beef cattle producers and local communities are critical to identify the mix of land for grazing and other purposes that should be selected, how post-mining lands can be configured to be suitable for grazing, and what is necessary for post-mining lands to be sustainable,” he says.

A key forum focus will be to present results of two large research programs for discussion.

“One project has been focused on how the views of landholders and local communities can be included in the conversion of mining lands to other uses, and the types of consultation processes that might work,” Professor Rolfe says.

“The other project has been focused on how any remaining environmental risks can be managed, even after land has been sold to other users.”