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Mining rehabilitation may be a necessary cost, but VBKom Rehab optimises the process to suit any budget, writes Vicky Sidler.

VBKom Rehab is part of an independent mining engineering consulting firm with a focus on rehabilitation designs and scheduling. “What sets us apart from the rest is that we physically plan the rehabilitation with mining software, normally used for project planning on mines. We design and schedule the broken topography into the desired topography afterwards,” says John Hough, VBKom Rehab managing director.

VBKom Rehab offers a five tier approach to rehabilitation utilizing art mining engineering methodologies to facilitate the in depth planning of the rehabilitation cycle from as is to as desired to be landscape. The acronym REHAB reveals the company’s approach, which includes:

  • Rehabilitation design and implementation
  • Environmental issues and work
  • H20 focus on water
  • Air quality
  • Botany and plant growth in the areas after rehabilitation.
This includes a total mining schedule of equipment costing and material balance, which all works together to ensure optimized costing and affordability. “Optimisation can be done for the cost of rehabilitating only one hectare,” says Hough. “In the current financial market, it is important to spend the money where it will actually make a difference.”

Concurrent rehabilitation, the process of backfilling during the mining process, is a primary focus of the DMR, says Hough. “The technique brings down your total cost of mining. We also look at the z-elevation between ramps to ensure that there is enough material to fill any final voids.”

Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a serious concern for mining companies, and VBKom Rehab assists in planning for water treatment. “We have strategic partners for implementing passive treatment areas and artificial wetlands to treat the run-off water and AMD,” says Hough. “Artificial wetlands could be used to treat water and fill final voids.”

VBKom Rehab has proven itself on many of BHP Billiton’s mines and has earned government interest as well. “We have advised government representatives on a big project regarding the closing of derelict and defunct coal mines,” says Hough. “The ball is in the government’s court now to decide on a target location and start doing the work.”

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