National Science Week 2018

Between Monday 13 August and Thursday 16 August 2018, the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner (LVMRC) hosted a series of interactive demonstrations and seminars each evening exploring the science and technology behind the rehabilitation of the Latrobe Valley mines.

Students from the Geotechnical and Hydrogeological Engineering Research Group, Federation University and Monash University Resources Engineering placed posters around the meeting space, alongside visual materials from the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy and the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner and were available to talk on the important research that they are undertaking on a wide range of geotechnical and environmental issues related to brown coal mine rehabilitation.

The seminars and demonstrations were held at Gippsland Tech School in Morwell. Around 60 people attended the seminars over the course of the week, including community members, mine staff, academics and students.

Monday 13 August

The week began with Lance Wallace from Energy Australia, who provided an insight into surveying and mapping in mining and mine restoration. Lance and his team provided demonstrations of surveying equipment and showed how surveying and mapping has changed dramatically over the last 30 years.

The real-time monitoring and visualisation of earthworks activity over a mine provided dramatic evidence of the changes that have taken place and the continual evolution of technology in mining.



Tuesday 14 August

Chris Osbourne from the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy project team brought a 3D projector and 3D glasses with him and gave the audience a fascinating insight into the geological features of the Latrobe Valley with the computer-based Latrobe Valley 3D coal model.

Built from the knowledge provided from the complete borehole database, developed since the start of mining, the 3D coal model shows how the latest visualisation tools can be used to support decision making for both mining and mine rehabilitation.

A simplified, PDF version of the Latrobe Valley 3D coal model is available from Earth Resources

Wednesday 15 August

Wednesday’s demonstration took flight (literally) as James Faithful and the team from ENGIE showed how drone facilitated aerial photogrammetry is changing the way mines undertake mapping activities and monitor stability.

They demonstrated how drones have vastly increased the amount of data available to monitor mines, and how a 30-minute drone flight can collect more data than a surveying team can in two weeks.  Aerial photogrammetry was obsolete decades ago, but has been reborn, revitalised and dramatically improved by the use of drones and high-resolution cameras.

An exciting opportunity to use the same techniques to build 3D virtual models of mining machinery as a way of recording our mining legacy was unveiled.




Thursday 16 August

The final evening of seminars featured three presenters and focused on ecological restoration.

Jon Missen from AGL provided an excellent overview of the current research into brown coal batter covers and the many significant and varied technical and environmental reasons for undertaking the research through the trials taking place at Loy Yang mine.  Jon covered the challenges for mine rehabilitation and the ongoing ecological restoration taking place.

Kamila Svobodova and Alena Walmsley from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, presently working at Monash University and assisting with the rehabilitation trials at Loy Yang then gave a fascinating insight into the environmental and social aspects of more than twenty years of mine rehabilitation in the Czech Republic.  There is much to be learned by the Latrobe Valley rehabilitation community from the successes, and occasional failures, of past restoration from countries such as the Czech Republic on these aspects and others.

Kamila’s presentation can be viewed here.


Alena’s presentation can be viewed here.