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Reducing Mine Site Extreme Rainfall Vulnerability Using Climate-related Adaptation from Terrain Evaluation Results

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Author J H Hodgkinson, M Grigorescu and M Khanal

Description

The mining industry often needs to operate in remote or climatically harsh locations. The industry has recently been forced to deal with extreme conditions including floods, heatwaves and droughts. As these are becoming progressively frequent occurrences, mines typically build ‘downtime’ into production schedules and expect to incur costs to manage the various risks arising from climate extremes. Importantly, many environmental conditions are becoming more extreme and consequently, risk management based on past data can become increasingly ineffective. Market and shareholder demand for fewer interruptions are another pressure on mines to avoid prolonged or frequent downtime. Hence, adaptation to climate is becoming an important strategic move for many companies, many of whom are using future climate scenarios and alternative risk evaluations.

We present here a method that uses commonly available mine site data to assist decision-making for reducing vulnerability to sudden flood. The method, ‘climate-related adaptation from terrain evaluation results’ (CRATER), identifies a mine’s flood ‘hot-spots’ and presents them as a ‘traffic lights’ warning map. The process then requires a failure analysis process such as fault-tree analysis to identify both the cause of possible failures and a range of possible failure-avoidance adaptations. In the final stage, management can assess the most suitable option for the mine, based on the availability of capital such as time, facilities, labour and money in addition to social acceptability of the options. CRATER has been tested in an open cut mine environment and is now being further developed to identify how subsidence over underground mines may impact on flooding and ponding over the mining life cycle (CRATER II). Further work is continuing to test larger and more complex mine landscapes to deliver a method to extract more knowledge from existing data.

CITATION:

Hodgkinson, J H, Grigorescu, M and Khanal, M, 2016. Reducing mine site extreme rainfall vulnerability using climate-related adaptation from terrain evaluation results, in Proceedings International Mine Management Conference, pp 187-200 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).