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Welcome to our first quarterly newsletter, the first of many. Our goal is to showcase mine rehabilitation and related activities, as well as my office’s activities that support rehabilitation planning. We also want to draw attention to the great work of community groups around the wider story of transition in the Latrobe Valley. So, if you have a story that you want to tell and you think that it would fit with our goals, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.
My first 18 months has been very busy with contributions to and reviews of regulatory reform, mine rehabilitation planning, strategic planning studies as well as knowledge gathering and research. Additionally, I have enjoyed wide-ranging discussions with the community. These conversations are so important, and I have learned a great deal from many people. I hope in turn, people have gained some valuable information from me. I look forward to expanding this part of my work with my team: Rhonda, Mary and Helen. You will be introduced to them here.
I trust you enjoy the newsletter’s format, but please feedback any thoughts on what we should include and what we can do better.
Meet the team
Since commencing his role in mid-2017, the Commissioner has been progressively building a team to assist him. The LVMRC team are all Gippsland locals, and are keen to help achieve positive rehabilitation outcomes. Feel free to pop into the LVMRC office and say hi.
Rhonda Hastie, Technical Specialist
I’m Rhonda Hastie and my role is ‘Technical Specialist’. I’ve been working for the LVMRC since May 2018 after a 10-year career in environmental consulting based in Melbourne and Adelaide. I have previously specialised in site contamination and impact assessments as well as site remediation and water treatment system design and operation. I am thoroughly enjoying my role with the LVMRC and applying my knowledge to the mine rehabilitation space.
Helen Lilley, Business Support Manager
I’m Helen Lilley, and I’ve been the LVMRC Business Support Manager since March 2018. I’ve been working in the state and federal public service for the last 12 years, specialising in policy development, governance and project management. I enjoy working with the LVMRC, as it gives me the opportunity to engage with my local community and work toward a positive outcome for the Latrobe Valley.
Mary Mathew, Engagement Officer
I’m Mary Mathew and have recently commenced as Engagement Officer with the LVMRC. As a former journalist and 12 years in the communications and engagement space in the utilities sector, I’m tasked to undertake a wide variety of work involving media and communications, social media and community events. I look forward to applying my skills by helping develop and implement engagement activities to support the Commissioner’s priorities and objectives.
2018 has been a big year, which has seen significant progress made on Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy (LVRRS) technical studies and the rehabilitation plans of the three Latrobe Valley mines, including the research activities being overseen and supported by the Integrated Mines Research Group.
In particular, the Commissioner, with the help of Technical Specialist Rhonda Hastie:
- Provided technical advice and document review for the three mine operators on the development of mine rehabilitation plans and works progress;
- Provided advice to Regional Roads Victoria on the proposed Traralgon Bypass’ interaction with Loy Yang mine and its potential influence on future rehabilitation strategies; and
- Assisted the LVRRS team with scope development, and progress and document review.
The LVMRC team believes that the community should be kept informed and educated about the technical aspects of mine rehabilitation, and as such, LVMRC public events have had a technical focus. Community events held during 2018 have included:
- Two public forums on mine rehabilitation issues: one in May 2018, at which the LVRRS provided an update on their work; and one in December 2018, to introduce the LVMRC’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and discuss Germany’s approach to mine rehabilitation. These forums allowed the LVMRC team to hear community ideas and concerns first-hand. Full reports on both forums are available at lvmrc.vic.gov.au/events.
- A series of hands-on demonstrations and talks on the science and technical aspects of mine rehabilitation with support from the mine operators and Fed Uni and Monash university academics, as part of National Science Week 2018.
- Meetings with Latrobe Valley community groups to discuss their ideas on mine rehabilitation.
- Seeking ideas for mine rehabilitation from local secondary school students, in partnership with Gippsland Tech School.
During 2018, the LVMRC published two significant documents: the inaugural LVMRC Annual Report, and the Latrobe Valley Rehabilitation Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. The Annual Report details the activities of the Commissioner and his team during their first year of operations, while the Framework outlines how monitoring and evaluation aspects of the Commissioner’s role will be performed. Both documents are available from lvmrc.vic.gov.au/publications.
2019 is shaping up to be another big year. As the LVRRS draws closer to publication, a significant effort will go toward working with the LVRRS technical teams to ensure their findings are robust and fit for purpose, and that the recommendations are realistic and achievable. Work with the three Latrobe Valley mines will continue, as the LVMRC assists them with progressing and refining their rehabilitation planning.
The LVMRC team will also be out in the community, keeping people informed of progress, and to listen to ideas on rehabilitation. To improve community engagement, the LVMRC has established its own social media pages on Facebook and LinkedIn, so be sure to follow for the latest information on mine rehabilitation and community events.
The LVMRC team aims to regularly get out into the community to chat about mine rehabilitation.
My Valley My Home Festival
15 March 2019, 3pm – 7pm
Kernot Hall, Morwell
Come and visit us at the My Valley My Home We’ll have the latest information on mine rehabilitation, and the Commissioner and his team will be available to answer your questions. For more information on the festival, visit facebook.com/wearelatrobe.
LVMRC community forum
Similar to our previous forums, this will feature guest speakers on a range of rehabilitation topics, and will give the community an opportunity to chat to representatives from government and the Latrobe Valley mines. Date and time will be confirmed by late March.
If you would like to be informed of upcoming rehabilitation events, you can join our mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date.
Mine Closure Conference 2019
The International Conference on Mine Closure is a yearly conference that brings together mining professionals, government representatives, academics and experts to discuss all aspects of mine closure and rehabilitation. The 2018 conference in Germany was attended by the Commissioner and Technical Specialist, and provided a wealth of information on international better practice for mine rehabilitation.
In 2019, the Mine Closure conference will be held in Perth from 3-5 September. The Commissioner is a member of the conference’s international advisory panel, and the LVMRC team is preparing two papers for consideration:
- Mine rehabilitation in the Latrobe Valley, the start of a long journey: The Commissioner’s role, which will describe the background to mine rehabilitation in the Latrobe Valley, the establishment, functions and powers of the Commissioner and the observations around monitoring and evaluation and community involvement from the first 18 months of implementing the role; and
- Is safe, stable, and sustainable enough or should there be more – a community engagement perspective? which draws on the experiences of the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner over the last 18 months in framing and exploring the relationship between rehabilitation objectives, technical feasibility and community expectations.
Abstracts on Latrobe Valley mine rehabilitation issues have also been submitted by representatives from the Department of Jobs, Precincts & Regions, the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, ENGIE, Monash University and GHD.
For more information on the conference, visit www.mineclosure2019.com.
A big part of the LVMRC’s role is to engage with and educate the Latrobe Valley community on mine rehabilitation issues. We would be delighted to arrange one-on-one meetings or attend community group meetings to discuss any aspect of rehabilitation planning that is underway.
If you have any questions, or if you’d like to arrange a meeting with the Commissioner, you can contact our office.