UTAS Home › Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology › Earth Sciences (Geology, Geophysics & Geochemistry) › Research › Environmental Mineralogy and Geochemistry – with CRC ORE › Environmental Indicators in Mining
Prediction is one of the basic desires of humanity, to discern the future and know what fate holds. Yet, predicting environmental risks is typically not an attribute which is embedded into the development of our natural resources. This project pursues the development of accurate tests that will yield predictive information on the characteristics of mineral resources, which in turn may impact on the environmental performance of mining operations. The underlying aim is to gain information that supports more effective mineral processing, better storage of waste and ultimately improved mine closure outcomes. The project will deliver tools, methodologies and knowledge which can be used to characterise environmental attributes mainly based on drill core sampling and testing. This information will be used as inputs into mine planning, mineral processing designs and waste management strategies.
Image 1: Water sampling, Queen River, Tasmania.
Image 2: Mr Ashish Sadhu using the XRF, UTAS.
The need for improved understanding of environmental liabilities and risks associated with mining operations has been widely recognised in the mining industry. For example, a number of mining companies have identified that a well organised and implemented approach to the prediction and prevention of acid mine drainage can have significant financial benefits, with some suggesting that as little as a 10% reduction in liability may be worth tens of millions to individual companies.
This project will provide fundamental information for future management tools needed by industry to predict waste and ore characteristics such as acid mine drainage. Provision of early indicators will allow a more proactive view on potential environmental issues linked to assessment of management and mitigation as part of overall mine planning and optimisation.
Initial research is focussed on development of small-scale, rapid laboratory tests for significant mineral reactions (such as acid rock drainage), propensity for dust generation and trace element mobility. As the tests move into the validation phase it is anticipated that sponsor case study sites will be used to demonstrate commercially significant results. Additional outcomes will include the development of an accredited training and education program, research publication in high profile journals, and training of research students.
Image 3: Open pit mine, Ernest Henry mine, Australia
|Project Leaders||Bernd Lottermoser|
|Members||Anita Parbhakar-Fox, Ron Berry and Taryn Noble|
|UTAS Collaborators||School of Earth Sciences|
|External Collaborators / Partners||Co-operative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), University of Queensland|
|Funding Source||CRC ORE, University of Queensland|
Selected Publications 2012
Authorised by the Head of School, Physical Sciences
28 June, 2012