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Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

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The Invisible Mine - Zero Environmental Water Impacts

The desire for minimising impacts of mining activities on the environment, and in particular, water resources; is usually tempered by the costs and practicalities of implementing best practice' measures. This paper briefly discusses the theoretical and practical options for water management for typical mines and quarries in a range of environments to assess if adverse impacts can be completely eliminated or at least be perceived as doing so. The regulatory requirements for water resources management are usually an essential part of mine planning and operations that can be a primary focus for all stakeholders. As such they can distract attention from implementing best practice in water management for the benefit of the environment and the community for altruistic reasons that have a long-term benefit for the mining industry as a whole._x000D_
Cost-effective options for supply, demand and quality management of water that comply with basic regulatory requirements are readily available. Making a mine invisible' in a practical sense, in terms of impacts on water resources would require eliminating potentially contaminated discharges, minimising demand, maximising reuse and recycling and putting back a healthy proportion of the clean water that is taken out of the natural environment for use in mine operations. This may sound simple enough and there are many well-known standard approaches that are usually applied. But which are the most effective, and who benefits? New approaches to water management are becoming more affordable and can benefit the bottom line as well as the environment, but can they make a mine disappear'? The perception of whether a mine is invisible' in terms of its impacts on water resources is as important as the actions taken to try to achieve such an objective. The viewpoints and thresholds of perceptions of the different stakeholders are therefore relevant to how visible' mining activities become._x000D_
FORMAL CITATION:Herman, G, 2006. The invisible mine - zero environmental water impacts, in Proceedings Water in Mining 2006, pp 105-112 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2005
  • PDF Size: 0.225 Mb.
  • Unique ID: P200610013

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