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Quantifying the effect of climate and surface materials on post-mining landscape erosion – a risk approach using landscape evolution models

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Author G R Hancock, D C Verdon-Kidd, T J Coulthard, J B C Lowry and M J Saynor

Description

Designing post-mining landscapes requires quantifying the short and long-term risks. In recent years, computer based landscape evolution models (LEMs) have been used to provide insight into both erosion rates and processes (i.e. sheetwash, rill, gully erosion). An important requirement of these models is high quality model input parameter data, which includes both the surface material (i.e. soil and waste rock) and climate information. However, in many cases such data is limited and in the case of climate information, the data is often short and incomplete. Here we develop climate scenarios and examine different surface material properties using a case study at the ERA Ranger mine located in the Northern Territory, Australia Firstly we develop scenarios that represent the range of future climates that may be experienced at the site. Secondly we develop a series of plausible particle size distributions based on a large sampling exercise of the waste rock material. We then test the sensitivity of different rainfall sequences and surface materials on sediment output using a well-tested landscape evolution and sediment transport model (Hancock et al., 2017).

CITATION:

Hancock, G R, Verdon-Kidd, D C, Coulthard, T J, Lowry, J B C and Saynor, M J, 2018. Quantifying the effect of climate and surface materials on post-mining landscape erosion – a risk approach using landscape evolution models, in Proceedings Life-of-Mine 2018, pp 122–124 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).