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|AND INTRODUCTION The Lochiel coal deposit, a large Tertiary soft brown coal deposit in the mid north of South Australia, is currently being investigated by the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) as a potential source of fuel for a base load power station. Feasibility studies indicated that the proposed dragline method of overburden removal was viable but economically sensitive to both highwail and dump batter angles. The unusual properties of the unconsolidated overburden sediments and the groundwater regime posed a number of intimately related hydrogeological and geotechnical questions which were addressed before and during the excavation of a trial pit. All strata at Lochiel are of soil strength, and artesian aquifers occur above and below the coal. From the initial evaluation of the deposit a number of hydrogeological questions were defined. These related to the rate at which the pore pressure in the silts is reduced by dewatering, the extent of the reduction in pore pressure due to prestripping, and the feasibility of dewatering and depressurising carbonaceous silty sand sequences. The site of the trial pit was selected to answer these and other questions from the basis of a detailed geological, hydrogeological and geotechnical understanding. The trial pit dewatering system simulated a full scale mine dewatering system and included ten pumped wells, twenty drainage wells, and nearly 400 monitoring instruments. It operated from September 1986 to June 1987. The excavation was carried out between February and May 1987.|