A comparison of store-and-release covers to undisturbed soil

High-quality agricultural land is relatively scarce in Queensland and mining is progressively competing for land with agriculture and urban development. Legislation changes are trending towards co-existence that may require mines to transition to agriculture land use post-mining.

Queensland – and in fact Australia – has little experience of redeveloping agriculture land after mining has ended. Central to redeveloping agriculture will be the restoration of a soil profile.

This article finds that store-and-release cover design has focused on an engineered solution that has been developed in most cases because there has been a lack of soil borrow material to construct the final store-and-release cover. The engineered solution does not necessarily align with food security and a transition to agriculture post-mining.

This article has identified a number of key closure criteria based on legislation and guidelines that should be considered during the design phase of a store-and-release cover. Incorporating closure criteria related to agriculture into the design intention of a store-and-release cover during the design phase will ensure that future food security is being considered.

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