Clint McCullough (MiWER), Douglas Hunt (Curtin University), Louis Evans (Curtin University)

What planning and regulatory involvement if required to develop pit lakes into beneficial end uses?

Social licence to mine is encouraging a much greater emphasis on sustainability and contribution to the local community of a post-mining landscape than ever before. Development of a pit lake resource into a beneficial end use depends upon input from the mining company involved, the local community and also relevant regulatory agencies. Planning must ideally occur before the first hole is dug, and from then on it should be regularly updated as economic and social climates change.

Photo: Wedge Pit lake in the Goldfields Region provides water for the nearby town of Laverton

Figure: Mine pit lakes relinquishment needs to be considered before beginning and during operational mine life

The most successful pit lake beneficial end uses have arisen when mining companies have engaged the desire and expectations of local communities in a supportive regularly environment to go beyond compliance; instead, to leave a very positive mining legacy behind that they can be proud of.


McCullough, C. D.; Hunt, D. & Evans, L. H. (2009). Sustainable development of open pit mines: creating beneficial end uses for pit lakes. In, Mine Pit Lakes: Characteristics, Predictive Modelling, and Sustainability. Castendyk, D. & Eary, T. (eds.) Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME), Kentucky, USA,