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Completion Criteria

It has been recognised by the mining industry, government authorities and the public that criteria are needed to determine when mine rehabilitation is complete. Industry is looking for criteria that indicate the success of its rehabilitation, and enable it to determine when its liability for the area ceases. Government authorities also want successful rehabilitation to ensure that they are not inheriting an ongoing liability. Finally the public want to know that the rehabilitation has been successful, and a sustainable land use has been restored.
In 1993, a joint working group between Alcoa and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) was established to identify completion criteria and propose standards for current era rehabilitation. Current era is rehabilitation that has occurred since 1988 when Alcoa began to revegetate its mine pits with species indigenous to the jarrah forest, rather than planting eucalypts native to other parts of Australia.  Non-WA eucalypts (dieback resistant species) were originally used in Alcoa’s mine rehabilitation due to concerns about the impact of Dieback.
The completion criteria are based on a series of principles that are considered appropriate for mine rehabilitation in the northern jarrah forest. These include rehabilitation that:
- Meets land use objectives;
- Is integrated into the landscape;
- Exhibits sustained growth and development;
- Has vegetation that is as resilient as jarrah forest; and
- Can be integrated with standard forest management practices.
In 1995, a ministerial condition contained in the approval of Alcoa's Wagerup refinery expansion defined the requirements to develop completion criteria for rehabilitated mined areas. Responsibility for the program was delegated to the Mining and Management Program Liaison Group (MMPLG) which comprises representatives from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), Department of Water, the Water Corporation and the Department of Mines & Petroleum. 
The requirements of the completion criteria included:
- Public consultation prior to the completion criteria being finalised,
- Public access to the completion criteria upon finalisation,
- Five yearly review and revision of the completion criteria via the MMPLG and public consultation,
- Application of best practice environmental management principles, and
- Certificate of acceptance supplied to Alcoa by DEC on behalf of the State.
The completion criteria were reviewed in consultation with all Alcoa's stakeholders; representatives from all the state government agencies responsible for the management of land or environmental issues, industry, academia and the public, including representatives of the conservation movement. The MMPLG approved the completion criteria for the current era of rehabilitation in 1998.   A further review has been conducted in 2002 and again in 2007.
Alcoa and the DEC have also developed completion criteria for pre-1988 rehabilitation. As these rehabilitated areas are well established, the criteria have to be applied retrospectively and assessment conducted on the last stage of the rehabilitation, unlike current era rehabilitation where there are criteria for all stages of the rehabilitation process, criteria was set taking into account mining practices of the day. This means early era criteria are predominantly used to assess the need for any remedial work to be undertaken in rehabilitated areas.
Alcoa has continually improved its mine rehabilitation prescription since 1966, so areas rehabilitated prior to 1988 may require varying degrees of rework. Sites are assessed to determine whether they are exhibiting sustained growth and development, or if they have any significant infrastructure that require removal, such as contour banks. When rework is undertaken, Alcoa designs the rework to favour the re-establishment of jarrah forest species and suppress the re-establishment of non-indigenous species. By doing this, Alcoa is working towards establishing self-sustaining jarrah forest ecosystems in all of our rehabilitated areas.
To view the Completion Criteria document, click here.

group of people view forest

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Representatives from various government departments (MMPLG) are required to review Alcoa's completion criteria every five years.

jarrah forest immediately after a fire

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Rehabilitated vegetation immediately after a high-intensity research burn, similar in intensity to a real bushfire.

same burnt forest after 2 years

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Two years later the site has completely regenerated, showing the resilience of the rehabilitated vegetation.