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Soil Return

The overburden and topsoil layers are returned to mine pits when mining has been completed and the areas have been landscaped and pre-ripped.
 
Soil return is carried out using large scrapers.  The scrapers scoop up a large volume of overburden in the bowl of the scraper and then spread this in a thin layer over the landscaped pit.  The depth is variable, and dependent on the area that it is removed from.  Some areas of forest have very shallow overburden and topsoil.  The approximate depth of return is 300mm.  Once the layer of overburden has been returned, the topsoil is then returned in a very thin (about 15cm) layer on top of the overburden.
 
Ideally, topsoil is directly returned to mine rehabilitation areas from pits that have been recently cleared; this maximises the amount of seed present in the topsoil, so that the highest number of plant species possible in the rehabilitated areas is achieved.  However, due to mining timing constraints, this may not always be possible.  In those instances, topsoil is screened, and this is then spread over the rehabilitated area.
 
To learn more about AIR SEEDING, click here... 


Scrapers

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Scrapers spread a thin 15cm layer of topsoil over the pre-ripped ground. The pit is now ready for contour ripping and air-seeding.

After soil return.

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A rehabilitated mine pit directly after soil return. The surface of the rehabilitated pit is now level and blends with the surrounding forest.