New Hope’s land rehabilitation program looks to the future

7 May 2014

The New Hope Group’s New Acland coal mine is currently conducting its second year of scientific cattle grazing trials on rehabilitated mined land.

New Hope aims to refine and improve its land rehabilitation program through a partnership with the University of Southern Queensland and independent agricultural consultants Outcross.

“We have been happy with the advances we have made so far in rehabilitating the mined land to grazing status,” New Hope’s Executive General Manager for Mining Jim Randell said.

“This second stage of the five-year program will be very important in identifying any improvements we can make in these cattle trials and any other factors that may affect the performance of cattle on rehabilitated land.

“This phase of the study has also been developed to investigate the structure of rehabilitated soils compared to unmined soils.”

USQ experts are investigating the soil chemistry, structure and microbial activity, while Outcross is supervising the latest round of cattle grazing trials.

Acland Pastoral Company Manager Ben Muirhead said the second year of the cattle trials had seen some refinements in the program.

“In the first year the weight gains for the cattle on the mined areas were slightly higher than the benchmark data for the local area. It is expected that these results will continue into the second phase of the trial,” he said.

“We have expanded our testing program on the both the soil and pasture to gain a more in-depth understanding of the rehabilitated areas.

“For this second round of cattle trials we have sourced the cattle from the same supplier, which ensures we are comparing the same breed, genetics and age for all beasts in the study.”

New Hope established the Acland Pastoral Company in 2006, as a farming, grazing and land management enterprise based at the New Acland mine.