In many mining regulatory jurisdictions, mine closure plans are required prior to the commencement of mining. In these plans it must be shown that waste rock dumps and tailings storage facilities will not suffer excessive erosion thereby releasing contaminants to the environment. This can be achieved through developing designed landforms based on landform evolution modelling (LEM).
LEM is a 3D method of simulating gully formation: location, width and depth. Rates of gully incision can be determined and, should it show that contaminants will be exposed to surface conditions, the landform can be redesigned. LEM can be used to assess the best layout of drains, sediment ponds and bunds to achieve an acceptable erosion and sediment export rates from disturbed site to downstream rivers and creeks.
In the initial stages of closure planning, which can be prior to the commencement of mining, LEM simulations using limited dataare acceptable. As mining progresses and more information on the properties of waste materials becomes available it is recommended that model simulations should be reconducted and the landforms designs updated accordingly. Like many engineering design procedures, the application of LEM with engineering design is an iterative process which will help miners meet regulatory closure planning requirements.
ECAust’s principal consultant has over 25 years of experience in the research and application of LEMs to mine rehabilitation. This experience includes extensive field work collecting rainfall, runoff and erosion data for model calibration and validation. With his knowledge and experience, cost effective approaches can be developed for specific situations.
Consultants in ECAust can provide, but are not limited to the following services:
• Simulation of erosion rates on elevated waste rock dumps to assess sediment transport off site for mine closure planning,
• Assessment of gully incision rates in tailings and contaminant structures as an iterative design tool,
• Determine the probable location of gullies and sediment deposition,
• Simulation of catchment hydraulic changes, fluvial erosion, transport and deposition in disturbed catchments,
• Assessment of natural debris flows to assist with hard engineering design to prevent loss of life and property,
• Comparison of erosion rates in disturbed catchments with erosion rates of undisturbed catchments to assess impact, and
• Assist with mine closure plans with respect to erosion risk assessment.
P: 08 89 280 380
M: (0)4 7519 8875
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