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Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

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Integration of Mine Planning with Groundwater Modelling to Optimise Mine Closure Plans at the Marillana Creek (Yandi) Mine

A major challenge for closure planning at mining operations below the water table is evaporation from final void pit lakes and concentration of salts, which can impact on downstream groundwater (and surface water) flows and quality. Where such impacts are deemed unacceptable, the closure approach that is often adopted is to infill the final voids with waste rock to above the pre-mining water table to prevent the development of a pit lake and subsequent evaporative losses._x000D_
BHP Billiton Iron Ore's Marillana Creek (Yandi) mining operations face these issues. The orebody is a channel iron deposit that forms the major aquifer in the region, which will be completely mined as a series of elongated open pits over tens of kilometres. The major constraint on mine closure planning was the stripping ratio of less than one, which means that there is insufficient waste rock to infill all areas to the pre-mining water table. Hydrogeological investigations and groundwater modelling indicated that standard mine closure approaches would result in pit void lakes becoming saline sinks unless the residual void geometry was optimised to minimise evaporation and maximise throughflow._x000D_
The solution developed is a cost-effective long-term mine plan that meets all mine closure objectives, and involved: the selective infilling of all pits, largely using run-of-mine waste dumping with limited re-handling; the diversion of the major part of up-catchment creek flows around the mining operations to allow mining of the resource under Marillana Creek crossings, which in turn restricted overall aquifer recharge and reduced the elevation of the long-term water table; the diversion of some minor creek tributary flows into specific locations within the mine path to induce hydraulic gradients to maintain groundwater throughflow and water quality; and close integration of mine plan optimisation (mining and waste dumping schedules) with groundwater modelling scenarios to achieve acceptable environmental outcomes._x000D_
This approach is designed to result in no reduction in downstream surface water flows or quality, maintenance of adequate downstream groundwater throughflow to support groundwater dependent ecosystems, and no reduction in the beneficial use status of the downstream groundwater resource._x000D_
FORMAL CITATION:Hall, J, Middlemis, H, Waters, P and Rozlapa, K, 2006. Integration of mine planning with groundwater modelling to optimise mine closure plans at the Marillana Creek (Yandi) Mine, in Proceedings Water in Mining 2006, pp 259-266 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2005
  • PDF Size: 4.472 Mb.
  • Unique ID: P200610035

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