Indmira Technology: Reclaimation of Former Mines Without the Addition of Topsoil

December 10, 2015 - Uncategorized

The main legislative basis for mining reclaimation is UU No 11/1967 on the Basic Regulations for Mining. Chapter 30 of this legislation states that at the end of a mining operation, the mine owners must return the land to the a condition at which it does not endanger the surrounding inhabitants.

Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (Jatam/Mine Advocacy Network) estimates that about 70% of environmental degradation is caused by mining activities. There is approximately 3,97 million hectares of forest is under the threat of mining, including its biodiversity. Moreover, the destruction along many watersheds has increased in the past ten years. Of about 4000 tributaries in Indonesia, 108 watersheds are heavily ravaged by irresponsible mining practices.

This condition is very disheartening even though people are currently bombarded with eco-friendly messages. Furthermore, there are regulations for mine operators to conserve the surrounding areas of the mines and restore the soil during mine reclaimation. According to the National Governent Regulation (UU) No. 4/2009 on Mineral and Coal Minings, reclaimation is a required action at every stage of mining to manage, restore and improve the quality of the environment and ecosystem so that they will function according to their uses.

The methods to restore former mines usually involve the addition of topsoil consisting manure, compost and other materials containing organic matter. These methods require a large amount of materials, such as 20 tonnes of manure per hectare and 30 cm of soil thickness. It should be noted that mines can reach million of hectares in area, and thus, makes those numbers dizzying. Finding a large volume of topsoil is another challenge for mining restoration. Mines are also usually located in remote areas. The transport of these materials in large amount can become logistical nightmares. Productive plants need topsoil. Lack or slow replacement of topsoil usually cause mining reclaimation to happen very slowly or not at all.

PT Indmira, as a research-based company in environment and agriculture, has been actively looking for the solutions for mine reclaimation. We have come up with natural biostimulant products to restore the ecosystem of former mines.These biostimulants are produced through fermentation of organic materials and added with bacteria that can reduce toxicity. Our biostimulants are natural and safe for the environment.

Our line up for mine restoration consists of SAN RBT, SAN PT and SAN Tanaman. SAN RBT functions to stimulate and speed up the degradation of complex molecules. SAN RBT contains phospate solvent, macro nutrients, micro nutrients, organic acids and microbes that are involved in biodegradation of organic materials and nitrogen fixing. SAN PT functions as the medium for soil and plant nutrients, which in turn improves the planting medium and neutralized soil pH. SAN Tanaman is an organic fertilizer, containing macro nutrients, micro nutrients, growth stimulating substance, and organic acids, to provide nutrients for plants and improve soil structure physically, chemically and biologically.

The amounts of those biostimulants needed for the mining reclaimation process are significantly smaller than the conventional methods, with only 25 kg of SAN RBT, 125 kg of SAN PT and 12,5 kg of San Tanaman for every hectare. When applied for individual plants, the doses are 40 gr, 200 gr, and 20 gr for SAN RBT, SAN PT, and SAN Tanaman respectively. After two weeks of applications, the land is ready for planting.

One of our partners in mine reclaimation was PT Sanga Coal Indonesia located in East Kalimantan. PT Indmira encountered an area with high soil pH, low organic contents, high humidity, low rain fall, and high winds. The biostimulant solutions were applied the soil to improve the soil texture and structure on the first day followed by a two-week incubation period. The same activity was performed at the end of the period followed by one month incubation to optimize the biostimulants. Revegetation commenced at the end of the second incubation by broadcasting the Legume Cover Crop (LCC). Fertilizers were applied every three months accompanied with daily monitoring and maintainance.

The application of our biostimulant technology at PT Sanga Coal Indonesia location had a 90% success rate and was considered very effective and efficient in terms of time and cost. So, in addition to being eco-friendly, the biostimulant technology from Indmira saves up to 40% in cost and significantly shortens the time it takes to restore a former mine. Indmira’s technology allows the use of the land for planting in two months, and no more than three months for the land in the worst condition.

Our technology is the first in the world, where we do not add topsoil on former mines. This method has been successfully applied at the former mines of PT Sanga Coal Indonesia, PT Pinang Coal Indonesia dan PT Mandiri Inti Perkasa. This technology is a breath of fresh air in mine reclaimations because it is environmentally friendly, cost effective and time efficient. (Le)

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