2012 – Challenges in Augmenting a Water Management System – Environmental Imperatives for a Coal Mine

Penelope Shaw, Brian Walford, Daniel Yates

The Bowen Basin is one of Australia’s economic mining powerhouses. Key to the mining of coal is the efficient management of the available water resources. For many years drought has meant that coal mines have had to manage operations with low quantities of water. For a new mine, this involved sophisticated hydrologic modelling as part of staying in business. In recent years a turnaround in weather conditions and changes to discharge permissions have meant that mines have too much saline water!
The paper describes how one mine augmented its small system of storages with a new dam and pumping system to meet regulatory requirements. Although not a large dam, the challenges confronted are shown to be similar to those involved in the delivery of much larger projects, all related to the power of water.
Keywords: Design storage allowance, water management, challenges, environmental protection, mining dams, automated pumping systems, spillway upgrading.

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