How Westside Mine has been progressively rehabilitated

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Mine Rehabilitation & Closure / Mining & Resources

How Westside Mine has been progressively rehabilitated

In this article:

  • Thirty-eight hectares of the north pit area, known as ‘Domain 2’ at the former Westside Mine at Wakefield have been successfully rehabilitated, resulting in a bushland outcome with some retained access tracks and small dams.
  • Westside Mine ceased operations in 2012 and the site had been undergoing progressive rehabilitation since that time.
  • To capture this achievement, the NSW Resources Regulator used a range of technologies including drone footage, field mapping tools and 360 interactive videos to produce an innovative case study detailing the rehabilitation completion at Westside Mine.
  • Ways to rehabilitate a mined out area
  • See what score you get for your Rehabilitation and Closure program
  • Find out about Decipher’s Rehabilitation and Closure solution


About the Westside mine

The Westside mine is a former open cut coal operation located in the Newcastle Coalfields of New South Wales (NSW) which began it’s operations in 1992 and closed in February 2012. During the last nine years of the mine’s life, it was operated under contract by Thiess Australian Mining and was the most productive mine in the Hunter Valley region measured by production tonnes per team member.

Since mining operations ceased in 2012, the site has been undergoing progressive rehabilitation.


About the progressive rehabilitation

Approximately 38 hectares of the north pit area of the former Westside Mine has been successfully rehabilitated with an approved final land use for Domain 2 consisting of bushland include some retained access tracks and small dams which is consistent with the surrounding bushland.

The site has been progressively rehabilitated in accordance with the obligations set out in the approved mining operations plan (MOP). The MOP requires the title holder to achieve the approved rehabilitation objectives, rehabilitation completion criteria and final landform. This includes the following key obligations:

  • reducing the visual impact on surrounding residences
  • establishing native trees and scrubs
  • returning the land back to bushland similar to the pre-mining environment
  • providing and maintaining efficient means to prevent contamination, pollution, erosion or siltation of any stream, watercourse or catchment area or any undue interference to fish or their environment
  • establishing a safe, stable and non-polluting landform


The rehabilitation progress

Since completion of mining, Domain 2 has been reshaped and reseeded, including the mining void in the western part of the domain.

The rehabilitation is between 16 to 26 years old and has been the subject of ongoing monitoring and maintenance in accordance with the requirements of the approved MOP. General observations have included:

  • the final landform is safe, stable, non-polluting and complements adjacent landforms
  • the ecosystem is sustainable and requires minimal maintenance consistent with the approved final land use
  • the species present were generally those found locally
  • evidence of natural regeneration and recruitment from native trees and vegetation established as part of the rehabilitation
  • no significant weed infestations, with levels similar to those surrounding untouched bushland areas
  • evidence of functioning soil nutrient/biological processes through the development of soil profiles

To capture this achievement, the NSW Resources Regulator used a range of technologies including drone footage, field mapping tools and 360 interactive videos to produce an innovative case study detailing the rehabilitation completion at Westside Mine. These innovations are driven by the Regulator’s strategic focus on becoming an intelligence led organisation.

An intelligence focussed approach enables more informed decisions for regulatory actions as well as improved communication of leading practice rehabilitation activities and positive rehabilitation outcomes across the state. This will ultimately improve the regulation of rehabilitation and rehabilitation outcomes within the mining industry.


360 video of rehabilitation


Drone flight – path 1


Drone flight – path 2




How to drive progressive rehabilitation and closure



Information obtained from NSW Resources Regulator.

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