Rarely do opportunities arise allowing closure of a mine site to be planned as a key beneficial land use asset within a new urban growth area; particularly so well prior to cessation of mining.
Pit lakes are common mine closure legacies for many open cut mines and may form in open cut mine voids extending below the water table upon closure. Mine closure guidelines increasingly require post-mining land uses of equivalent capacity to premining conditions and that minimise long-term post-mining liabilities and maximise benefits to stakeholders and the environment. However, risks presented by pit lakes are regularly neglected in closure planning or are not able to be addressed to allow beneficial end use of the lake or surrounding land.
This paper describes strategic planning initiated by quarry owners ten years before mining ceases. In liaison with the planning agencies, the planned closure of a large 100-year-old limestone quarry pit will form a lake on mine completion, with a well-considered beneficial end use in an urban setting in mind. The quarry pit and adjoining land at Batesford South about the edge of the City of Greater Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Geelong is experiencing growth pressures that necessitate development of a new growth area from about 2025.
A multidisciplinary expert team assessed the constraints, opportunities and feasibility of rehabilitating the quarry and pit lake and developing the surrounding land as Geelong’s next urban growth area.
The concept is exciting and demonstrates that a former mine site could become a valued home to about 40 000–45 000 people. About 30 per cent of the land will also be developed as an ecological riverine corridor including the pit lake that will become a regionally iconic lake as the centrepiece of an urban development.
Our paper outlines technical
challenges and how these can be met to achieve closure and beneficial use that
meets the social, economic and environmental expectations of contemporary urban
Gerner, M and McCullough, C D,
2014. Planning for the future – development of beneficial end use from a quarry
pit lake, Victoria, Australia, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2014 , pp 99–112 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).