While the open cut mining and processing of black coal has clear objectives and must be carried out costeffectively, there is an apparent lack of clear objectives in the rehabilitation of the spoil areas that result and a sense that spoil rehabilitation is merely an added cost. There is a need for rehabilitation to be recognised as an integral part of the operation that must be carried out cost-effectively. The paper describes the first pass application of a risk assessment model to the rehabilitation of spoil areas in the Bowen Basin Coalfields of central Queensland, Australia, carried out under the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) Project C8039 entitled "Risk Management Strategies for the Surrender of Open Cut Coal Mine Spoil Areas in the Bowen Basin Coalfields". A brief description of the project is first presented, the methodology being employed is summarised, progress is reported and the application of risk analysis is discussed.

Philosophy and Aims

The philosophy behind ACARP Project C8039 is a recognition of the need for a systematic process for selecting and supporting the most environmentally and economically effective strategies for the rehabilitation and future land uses of Bowen Basin open cut coal mine spoil areas. A multi-disciplinary, risk-based approach, relying on the wealth of available data, is seen as the best way of achieving this. Regulators are prepared to consider alternative end land uses, provided they can be proven, and mine operators should be pro-active. The successful completion of the project will provide a rational tool for the selection of cost-effective strategies for sustainable land capabilities and uses, to facilitate the surrender of Bowen Basin spoil areas. Land capability and use are taken in the broadest sense, allowing land use on unmined and mined land to be compared.

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