Waste to place - natural restoration of mining areas

Sector: Mining industry
Company: Waste2Place

Mining has a major impact on nature, not only because of underground mining. The conventional method of depositing waste rock (the rock that is mined but is not of economic interest) is to place it in terrace formations. This terracing makes it difficult for nature to recover. The steep walls between the terraces often cause erosion, making it difficult for vegetation to establish itself. At the same time, rain and meltwater lack natural pathways to travel. 

Geomorphological design and ecological recovery

Ecogain is involved in the Waste2Place project, funded by the Swedish Mining Innovation program and led by the landscape architecture firm VAST. The project is based on using geomorphological design. This means depositing waste rock in a way that mimics the natural landscape with the aim of facilitating nature's recovery and allowing the mining environments to blend into the surrounding landscape in the long term. It also creates long-term sustainable landscapes, with reduced risk of erosion. 

Ecological Recovery - planting with different habitats

Ecogain's part of the project is called Ecological Recovery. At a geomorphological design test site in Svappavaara, Ecogain will plant different habitats in test plots to see how to create the best conditions for different habitats to grow.  

The test plots are planted with mountain birch forest, mountain heath and mixed coniferous forest. The project started in 2023 and will continue until 2026. Ecogain will monitor the test plots annually.