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Landscape-scale Assessment of Watercourses in Remote Arid South Australia to Inform Mine Planning to Mine Closure


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Author C Ferguson, K White and M Harding


Understanding watercourses and river processes at a landscape scale is vital for managing risk to mining infrastructure and operations as well as minimising future environmental impacts beyond the life of the mine.

Recognising this, Iluka Resources Limited engaged Alluvium Consulting Australia to identify and characterise watercourses across several neighbouring mineral tenements in the Eucla Basin, South Australia (Alluvium, 2013, 2014a, 2014b). The objective of the studies was to inform planning for risk management during mine planning and operation and appropriate landscape rehabilitation for mine closure.

Mining operations in the area are by open cut extraction of mineral sands. The extracted resource is processed on-site before leaving the site for export. Several pits are to be developed in stages with simultaneous backfilling and surface reinstatement. Mining is initially taking place in the Jacinth tenement, where up to 100 km of watercourses may be directly or indirectly impacted (refer to Figure 1).

The total study area (shown in Figure 1) is approximately 330 km2 and spans three smaller areas that were the focus of separate investigations during mine planning.


Ferguson, C, White, K, Harding, M and Hardie, R, 2016. Landscape-scale assessment of watercourses in remote arid South Australia to inform mine planning to mine closure, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2016 Conference, pp 200–204 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).