Please click here for the home page

The Rehabilitation of Mines and Quarries

There is no doubt that mining activity can leave a permanent scar on landscapes and ecosystems. However, most mining activity that changes an ecosystem affords the opportunity to restore a useable habitat when the mining or quarrying is finished. Let’s have a look some of the ways in which the rehabilitation of mines and quarries takes place.


Reclamation of mining lands can take many forms. The goal of reclamation is to return the area to a useable habitat. Although many mines and quarries were simply abandoned in years past, reclamation is considered from the initiation of most modern mining operations. Reclamation typically involves restoring a natural grade to the mining area, providing suitable topsoil for vegetation to take root and planting key species of trees, grass or other flora to return the former mine to a working ecosystem.


Reclaimed mining and quarry lands are frequently set aside for use as a park. Level ground with little or no development makes an ideal area for recreation. Because the landscape is being rebuilt from the ground up, it is also possible to re-establish ecosystems that had long-since been destroyed, such as tall-grass prairies.

Open quarries may be used as parks as well. While an abandoned quarry is a dangerous place to explore, the installation of fences and guardrails can lessen the chance of mishap. Quarries usually cover many acres, providing ample room for hiking trails, both on the quarry floor and along its rim. The DePauw Nature Park in Greencastle, Indiana is a prime example of a former quarry that has been transformed into a useful recreation area.

Lakes for Recreation and Wildlife

When strip mining and quarrying operations are finished, the pit is often left as it was. Groundwater, rainwater and water from springs that were struck during the mining operation can fill up the pit, creating a lake. Water-filled quarries may be very deep and are popular for swimming, boating and scuba diving. Strip-mine pits which are filled with water are typically shallower than quarry pits. The Chinook Fish and Wildlife Area near Staunton, Indiana is a good example of a former strip mine that now provides a quality habitat for fish, wildlife and vegetation.

The rehabilitation of mines and quarries may come in many forms. The next time you visit a park or wildlife area, look a little deeper into its history. You might be surprised to find that you are standing where a mine once was.

Copyright All Rights Reserved HOME