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Soil, land care and environmental research

Medium-term erosion simulation of an abandoned mine site using the SIBERIA landscape evolution model

G. R. Hancock, K. G. Evans, G. R. Willgoose, D. R. Moliere, M. J. Saynor and R. J. Loch

Australian Journal of Soil Research 38(2) 249 - 264
Published: 2000


This study forms part of a collaborative project designed to validate the long-term erosion predictions of the SIBERIA landform evolution model on rehabilitated mine sites. The SIBERIA catchment evolution model can simulate the evolution of landforms resulting from runoff and erosion over many years. SIBERIA needs to be calibrated before evaluating whether it correctly models the observed evolution of rehabilitated mine landforms. A field study to collect data to calibrate SIBERIA was conducted at the abandoned Scinto 6 uranium mine located in the Kakadu Region, Northern Territory, Australia. The data were used to fit parameter values to a sediment loss model and a rainfall–runoff model. The derived runoff and erosion model parameter values were used in SIBERIA to simulate 50 years of erosion by concentrated flow on the batters of the abandoned site. The SIBERIA runs correctly simulated the geomorphic development of the gullies on the man-made batters of the waste rock dump. The observed gully position, depth, volume, and morphology on the waste rock dump were quantitatively compared with the SIBERIA simulations. The close similarities between the observed and simulated gully features indicate that SIBERIA can accurately predict the rate of gully development on a man-made post-mining landscape over periods of up to 50 years. SIBERIA is an appropriate model for assessment of erosional stability of rehabilitated mine sites over time spans of around 50 years.

Keywords: landscape simulation, mine rehabilitation.

© CSIRO 2000

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