Many open cut mines extend to depths well below the natural water table level with constant dewatering required to maintain operations. When mining activities cease the groundwater starts to fill the void and pit lakes form. The resultant pit lake is directly connected to the surrounding water table and understanding the hydrological and chemical evolution of these lakes is important for minimising environmental impacts. In Western Australia alone there are currently 1800 mine voids and more than 150 mines operating below the water table (Johnson and Wright, 2003). In conjunction with BHP Billiton Iron Ore, CSIRO has been undertaking research to measure and model rates of evaporation from pit lakes in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Extreme high temperatures and low humidity ensures that this region experiences the highest evaporation rates in Australia.
McJannet, D, Hawdon, A, Boadle, D, Baker, B, van Neil, T, Littleboy, A, Trefry, M, Rea, I and Fandrich, R, 2016. Measurements and modelling of evaporation from abandoned mine pit lakes, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2016 Conference, pp 106–109 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).