A rehabilitated Zinc mine in Australia. Image credit abc.net.au

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources:Mining:Rehabilitation of mine areas

  • Land rehabilitation is the process of returning the land in a given area to some degree of its former state, after some process (industry, natural disasters, etc.) has resulted in its damage.
  • Many projects and developments will result in the land becoming degraded, for example mining, farming and forestry.
  • Mine areas can be rehabilitated by planting trees to stabilize dumps.
  • Where dragline is used, overburden is dumped into the previous quarry site and thus the land is reclaimed as the mining progresses.
  • Large quantities of fertilizers and irrigation water are required in the revegetation of land.

Problems of rehabilitating mine dumps.

  • In Hwange, spontaneous combustion of dumps during the hot season make re-vegetation difficult.
  • Soils are usually sterile or they contain toxic substances which retard the growth of plants.
  • A lot of time and money is spent each year on research designed to find suitable tree species which can be grown.
  • Materials on old dumps are loose/unconsolidated. Excessive drainage makes it difficult for plants to grow.
  • Extreme acidification of surface materials retards plant growth.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page