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Title (Primary) Engineered river flow-through to improve mine pit lake and river values
Author McCullough, C.D.; Schultze, M.;
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Year 2018
Department SEEFO;
Volume 640–641
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T31;
Keywords Mine closure; Flow-through; Acidity; Contamination; Salinity
Abstract Mine pit lakes may develop at mine closure when mining voids extend below groundwater levels and fill with water. Acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) and salinity are common problems for pit lake water quality.

Contaminated pit lake waters can directly present significant risk to both surrounding and regional communities and natural environmental values and limit beneficial end use opportunities. Pit lake waters can also discharge into surface and groundwater; or directly present risks to wildlife, stock and human end users.

Riverine flow-through is increasingly proposed to mitigate or remediate pit lake water contamination using catchment scale processes. This paper presents the motivation and key processes and considerations for a flow-through pit lake closure strategy. International case studies as precedent and lessons for future application are described from pit lakes that use or propose flow-through as a key component of their mine closure design.

Chemical and biological processes including dilution, absorption and flocculation and sedimentation can sustainably reduce pit lake contaminant concentrations to acceptable levels for risk and enable end use opportunities to be realised. Flow-through may be a valid mine closure strategy for pit lakes with poor water quality. However, maintenance of existing riverine system values must be foremost. We further suggest that decant river water quality may, in some circumstances, be improved; notably in examples of meso-eutrophic river waters flowing through slightly acidic pit lakes.

Flow-through closure strategies must be scientifically justifiable and risk-based for both lake and receptors potentially affected by surface and groundwater transport. Due to the high-uncertainty associated with this complex strategy, biotic and physico-chemical attributes of both inflow and decant river reaches as well as lake should be well monitored. Monitoring should directly feed into an adaptive management framework discussed with key stakeholders with validation of flow-through as a sustainable strategy prior to mine relinquishment.
ID 20388
Persistent UFZ Identifier
McCullough, C.D., Schultze, M. (2018):
Engineered river flow-through to improve mine pit lake and river values
Sci. Total Environ. 640–641 , 217 - 231