Balancing Competing Water Resource Demands and Mining in a Coastal Environment

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
The mining of mineral sands in coastal aquifers is often constrained by other land use conflicts and inappropriate controls imposed through a lack of understanding of environmental interactions and processes. The recent experience with the Tea Gardens mining operation illustrates how increasing our knowledge and understanding leads to more effective management of environmental problems. As well as a source of heavy minerals, the Tea Gardens sand bed serves as a town water supply source. From past experience it was believed that mining could cause undesirable increases in dissolved iron concentrations in the aquifer, but the reasons and mechanisms for this phenomenon were not clear. A water monitoring program was therefore designed for the mining operation which was aimed at protecting the water supply borefield from any detremental effects. After one year the results of the monitoring program were assessed in the light of new knowledge and understanding of iron hydrochemistry. It was found that the existing program was not achieving some of its major aims, and was therefore modified to a more effective and cost efficient program.
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