Greenies fly in drone to spy on mines

NINE Bowen Basin mines have come under surveillance by environmentalists using a flying drone.

Last week the Mackay Conservation Group and Lock the Gate Alliance members travelled west to investigate rehabilitation progress at mines, as part of their aim to get people, particularly those living in neighbouring communities, talking about their rehabilitation expectations.

By securing footage of current rehabilitation efforts, group members like Lock the Gate's Rick Humphries said communities would be better placed to form an opinion on what should follow.

While the drone allowed them to 3D map, video and take photos of the mine sites, he said they also checked documents to help them make sense and check the context of the imagery.

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"We had questions asked at one site, but we were able to put them at ease about what we were doing."

He said the footage hadn't yet been processed but would reveal huge variance in rehabilitation efforts so far, and some spectacular footage of spontaneous combustion.

BHP Billiton had the drone visit a number of its mines and a spokesman said it was "continuously improving its rehabilitation strategies".

"The principles for BMA mine rehabilitation and final landform design have not changed," he said.

"Rehabilitation strategies are continuously improved, where practical, based on experience, monitoring and research. BMA mines commence progressive rehabilitation where mine planning has identified areas which are available."

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