Established in 1952, New Hope Group is an Australian owned and operated diversified energy company based in Ipswich, Queensland. Over the last four years, New Hope Group have partnered with the agriculture sector to conduct scientific cattle grazing trials at their New Acland Mine.
The Acland Cattle Grazing Trials project aims to determine the success of mined land rehabilitation, which may enable New Hope to refine and improve its land rehabilitation program. The project has adopted an innovative approach that incorporates the measurement of livestock, soil and pasture indicators. The focus is on productivity, viability and sustainability, along with established environmental indicators of safe, stable and non-polluting rehabilitated land.
The land rehabilitation to grazing activities are carried out in conjunction with New Acland Mine’s environmental protection works, which help to revegetate buffer zones along local water ways to create koala habitat and wildlife corridors. The combination of these two activities is designed to create a post-mining landscape that restores the land to as good as or better condition than pre-mining for grazing activities, strengthening and protecting the environmental value of undisturbed areas.
The project team intensively monitors three rehabilitated sites and one unmined Control site, collecting data on commercially important Key Performance Indicators for soil structure and fertility, pasture productivity and beef cattle production. The performances of the rehabilitated sites are compared with industry benchmarks and commercial production data, which are then measured in terms of viability and sustainability.
A focus has been placed on the viability of the soil, the quantity of pasture and the health of livestock. This methodology is being applied across a multi-stage research project. The program is now in its second stage, with collaboration yielding high quality data that is providing valuable information about the effectiveness of New Hope’s land rehabilitation techniques.
Information is, and will continue to be, shared publically with the hope that what is learned from The Acland Cattle Grazing Trials will provide valuable data for future research into mined land rehabilitation.