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Practical waste rock management at the Roy Hill iron ore mine, Western Australia


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Author V de San Miguel, B Miles and J Pearce


Incorporating industry best practice waste rock management methods can be a relatively straight forward task when preparing management documentation, such as an acid and metalliferous drainage management plan (AMDMP). However, a key difficulty is the incorporation of industry best practice methods that are practical and non-compromising on their purpose from a scientific standpoint. The second key difficulty is the implementation of these practical methods as various operational groups/departments are typically relied upon to execute and take ownership of different tasks or procedures.

One approach to overcoming these difficulties is to develop an AMD Operations Manual (AMDOM) that:

• Incorporates, where practicable and without compromising scientific merit, existing processes that those groups/departments ultimately responsible for the execution of the management action are familiar with; and

• Provides standalone, simplistic, and easy to follow procedures for site personnel. The purpose of the standalone operations manual is to ensure site personnel who are responsible for undertaking specific procedures, have clear, step-by-step instructions for an individual procedure, without requiring interpretation and understanding of the more comprehensive AMDMP.

In adopting a best practice approach to waste rock management for their iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, Roy Hill developed an AMD Management System that is comprised of both an AMDMP and an AMDOM that are connected through adaptive management processes. The Roy Hill iron ore mine, which has a mine life of 18 years, will require the management of more than three billion tonnes of waste rock.


de San Miguel, V, Miles, B and Pearce, J, 2018. Practical waste rock management at the Roy Hill iron ore mine, Western Australia, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2018, pp 80–82 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).