Mine reclamation : the PT Inco experience Ambodo, Aris Prio
The shallow lateritic nature of PT Inco's nickel deposits in Indonesia requires a rapidly advancing strip-mining operation. This becomes evident given that current mining activities disturb close to 300 hectares of forestland per year. Therefore, in order to minimize the amount of disturbed forestland area, it is imperative that mine reclamation be an integral part of the mining operation. Experimentation and research has enabled PTI to address the challenges common to most mine sites, some of which include low plant survival rate and poor growth. To date, PTI has successfully re-vegetated more than 1,900 hectares of post-mining areas and are committed to continue to rehabilitate approximately 300 hectares per year to maintain sufficient workspace for effective mining. The mine reclamation program was initially established to simply re-vegetate post mining areas for the purpose of erosion control. However, the focus in the last two years has expanded to include restoration of original forest eco-systems and productive forest development of post-mine areas. Future goals are to not only re-green mined-out areas but to also restore them as close as possible to their original forest eco-system in addition to investigating the growing of productive forest. Although these are ambitious and challenging tasks, we believe given our successes to date, these are achievable longer-term goals. PTI is in the process of developing strategies to achieve these targets. This paper is intended to summarize the program PTI has established which addresses species selection, soil amendment, fertilizer management and soil reconstruction. It also pertains to the improvements we have made from previous practices, including cover crop selection for better soil control, commercial forest development and native and endangered plant species conservation.
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