Jewell, R.J., and Townley, L.R. (Eds) (1999), A scoping study for the definition of research needs for the management and rehabilitation of tailings disposal facilities, AMIRA Project P484, Australian Centre for Minesite Environmental Research, 254pp., June

Tailings management and rehabilitation have in recent years become issues deserving considerably more attention than in the past. The expectations of the community in terms of ensuring environmentally acceptable solutions for the long-term storage of this waste from mineral processing has required that the mining industry give the issue increased attention and meet the costs involved. Not to have done so would have resulted in a rapid increase in anti-mining sentiment in the community, a more rigid regulatory environment and quite possibly a limited future for mining in this country.

Industry surveys quickly determined that in a number of areas there was insufficient knowledge to determine which were the criteria that needed to be met to provide environmentally acceptable solutions and how they might be achieved most economically. This scoping study was envisaged as the means of quickly defining what was needed and what was already known in those areas. The objectives were to avoid "reinventing the wheel" and to enable a structured approach to filling the gaps in our knowledge. By this approach, it would be possible to define the research needs of industry and to develop a plan for future research.

The geographic setting is Australia and South East Asia, which implies a diversity in mining (metalliferous; gold, base metals, iron ore, aluminium, energy; coal, etc); diversity in climate (arid to tropical, with corresponding natural variations in water quality and quantity) and diversity in host rocks (origin, induration, acid generating potential, etc.). This study has involved six specific state-of-the-art reviews which either singly or in combination, through a multi-disciplinary approach, address the majority of issues which need to be resolved for the efficient management and rehabilitation of mine tailings storage facilities (TSFs). The biological aspects of rehabilitation have not been covered as part of this study, as that is an area being addressed through a separate ACMRR (ACMER) project.


Copyright © 2018 by Lloyd Townley
Last revised: 28 June 2018