Thesis: Gully erosion on rehabilitated bauxite mines
Landforms rehabilitated after bauxite mining can be vulnerable to soil loss by water erosion processes. On most rehabilitated sites, management controls such as deep ripping, contour mounding and landscaped sub-catchments limit erosion. Despite these measures, severe gully erosion that is anecdotally associated with steep slopes can damage rehabilitated areas and affect downstream drinking water resources. A review of erosion dynamics reveals that gullies develop episodically and in a non-linear manner. They often initiated as a near surface process and are influenced by natural climatic drivers. Despite this, local site characteristics including soil and landform can predispose an area to gully erosion. Moreover, erosion models, becoming more-widely utilized within the mining industry, may provide useful tools with which to measure, analyse, and manage gully erosion.
Why my research is important
Well-designed, stable, post-mining landforms provide the basis for self-supporting, sustainable ecosystems that approach or attain similar characteristics to the pre-mining condition of a site.
This work will provide mining companies with the ability to better-assess the erosion-resistance of landform designs at the hillsope and pit scales before construction of the landform begins. Optimized landforms, designed to withstand erosion will be the important end result of this work. The potential initial construction cost-savings are in the order of $1000s per hectare.