Skills for Land Rehabilitation (Mined Land)

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Case for change

Recent mine closures, especially across Northern Australia, have highlighted a skills gap in the current AHC qualifications for adequately training people to work effectively to rehabilitate closed mines. Generally, mining companies are required by legislation, regulation or operating/licensing agreements to rehabilitate the land they use after mine closure, ideally doing so progressively during the lifecycle of the mine site.

Large mining companies engage environmental and rehabilitation specialists and advisors, which may be supervised by university educated environmental engineers. However, the skills needed by field workers performing the rehabilitation tasks are best supported through the VET system, as they build on skills already contained within it. This includes dozer seeding, drainage work, dam cleaning, sediment fencing, and irrigation supply, as well as ongoing monitoring, remediation and reporting services that are necessary as part of state and federal regulations.

This project is an opportunity for determining best practices for current and future mine site rehabilitation in Australia in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the Annual Update IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2020.

Skills Impact and the Amenity Horticulture, Landscaping, Conservation and Land Management Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see page 74)

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Project Plan

Conserving and managing Australia’s many unique ecosystems requires specialist skill and knowledge. While these skills are generally applicable to a range of geographically diverse natural locations, additional expertise is required to rehabilitate land after it has been used for mining. With over 350 operating mines and mineral deposits across Australia, it is vital that the skills to restore mined land to a safe, stable environment are supported and accessible. Consultation with industry will take place throughout this project to define the hands-on skills required to carry out work for the reclamation of mined land in national skills standards.

There are many complexities to restoring mined lands that do not apply to other environments. Skills are needed to re-establish native ecosystems and groundwater systems, so the land may be used again for agriculture or a variety of rural, urban and industrial uses. Specific skills and knowledge are required to work with topsoil that has been depleted of nutrients, to manage the presence of chemicals and heavy metals, and consider structural hazards both above and below ground. Restoring mined land will often require multiple inputs, which can include efforts from environmental advisors working on a mine site, field workers carrying out conservation work, through to seed producers creating seeds that can survive in a land depleted of nutrients.

In 2019, Skills Impact, undertook a project to update national qualifications and skills standards for conservation and ecosystem management. This project will build on that work, addressing the need for niche skills in rehabilitating mined land. Consideration will be given to the fact that the hands-on work to restore mined lands is increasingly undertaken by Indigenous rangers and other community members on Aboriginal lands. It is vital that these skills are supported, so that once mining activity is finished, land can be restored to a state that is safe and useable for other purposes.

Project Scope

This project will address the need for national skills standards for the rehabilitation of mined lands. It may result in a specialisation stream within a current conservation and land management qualification and the development of skill sets. Existing units from multiple training packages will be utilised, including recently updated units for conservation and ecosystem management. New units will be developed where gaps are identified.

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations
  • Natural resource managers
  • Machinery operators
  • Land surveyors
  • Field workers
  • Soil, water, air dust noise samplers/testers
  • Ecologists
  • Bush regenerators
  • Native seed collectors
  • Wildlife carers and managers

Timeline

September/October 2020
Initial scoping

November/December 2020
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

January/February 2021
Drafts available for broad consultation

April/May 2021
Validation of final drafts

June2021
Finalisation of Training Package components

July/August 2021

Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

September 2021
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

 

Project Team
Will Henderson Industry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact whenderson@skillsimpact.com.au
Michelle Ingley-Smith Industry Engagement Manager, Skills Impact michelle@skillsimpact.com.au
Cathy Beven Industry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impact
Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts (SME) and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in January/February 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in April/May 2021. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The qualifications, skill sets, and units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact would love your input and assistance.

Those working in rehabilitation of mined land and others with knowledge in this field who can describe the skills and qualifications needed for this industry are invited to engage with this project.

Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project manager, Will Henderson on 0424068319 or whenderson@skillsimpact.com.au.

N.B. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Webinars will be held to replace the face-to-face consultation workshops Skills Impact would usually host around Australia.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft skill sets and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most, likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Development

This project will address the need for national skills standards for the rehabilitation of mined lands. There are many complexities to restoring mined lands that do not apply to other environments. While the skills to conserve and manage Australian’s various ecosystems are related, additional expertise is required to rehabilitate land after it has been used for mining. Skills are needed to re-establish native ecosystems and groundwater systems, so the land may be used again for agriculture or a variety of rural, urban and industrial uses. The hands-on work to restore mined lands is often undertaken by Indigenous rangers and other community members on Aboriginal lands. The work to restoring mined land often requires multiple inputs, which can include efforts from environmental advisors working on a mine site, field workers carrying out conservation work, through to seed producers creating seeds that can survive in a land depleted of nutrients.

Experts in the sector are being engaged to help inform the content for the draft units of competency. A subject matter expert working group has also been identified and they will be convening at the end of November 2020. These experts are being consulted on the best ways to address the need for niche skills in rehabilitating mined land within the national training package. Consideration is being given to whether they should be addressed by a skill set or a stream of study in the Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystem Management. They are looking at the existing units of competency for conservation and ecosystem management to identify whether additional units need to be developed to address the skills gap for rehabilitating mined land.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence in December 2020, when draft units will be made available for feedback on this webpage. Your input is welcome, please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback by following the newsletter subscription link below.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

 

 

 

Drafts Available

This stage has not yet commenced

Validation

This stage has not yet commenced

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced