The McArthur Mine in Australia was in the news recently. I vaguely recollect reading reports of a controversy surrounding the mine. But no matter, for those are issues of politics and mine development; in this part of InfoMine all we need to concern ourselves with are deep technical matters.

Thus is refer you to the July 2006 report Review of the McArthur Mine Open Cut Project Public Environmental Report prepared by Professor Wayne D. Erskine of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. The report is worth accessing if only to take a look at the pictures of the mine and the area of the mine—looks like nice warm country by comparison with the cold place I am now—how I wish I could always be in a hot place, fending off the heat, and drinking iced lemonade and hot tea.

Seems as though the professor took issue with the adequacy of the original environmental report, particularly as it addressed proposed river and channel diversion works around the mine’s open pit. The details of the controversy are not particularly important, and in the report, the professor notes that the deficiencies have been addressed. I paraphrase his recommendation/conclusions to give you some idea of what you may have to do if you proposed to divert a river around your mine:

  • Include artificial rock riffles in the diversion channels.
  • Incorporate large wood loadings, spacing, orientations and accumulations in the diversion channel design that mimic the current channel.
  • Provide detailed revegetation proposals.
  • Discuss meaningful the sediment erodablity for the material used to form the banks of the diversion channel.

Provide a stable diversion channel design and be prepared to do annual monitoring until vegetation is fully established.