Mine Pit Lakes are formed once open-cut mining has ceased and the groundwater levels return back to normal levels and flood the pit. In addition, surface waters and rainfall can contribute to the filling. Mine Lakes are often highly acidic through acid mine drainage.
Ideally, planning occurs during the life of the mine for closure once mining ceases. At closure/abandonment, the legacy of the mine is transferred to the land holder, typically the community. Our research focuses specifically on pit lakes are one of the most significant legacy of mining, examining what can be done to maximise the value of the pit lake (end uses) and minimise risks to the community. In particular, we are interested in ecosystem development within these lakes.
Limnology and Ecology
Limnology is the ‘study of lakes’ and pit lakes are often very deep and unusual lakes. MiWER has the equipment and skills to investigate how the physical and chemical conditions within these unique environments. We then examine how these conditions contribute to the ecological communities within the lakes, particularly macroinvertebrates, fish, riparian plants, diatoms, plankton, and microbes.
MiWER has conducted a range of projects that have looked at remediation strategies for acid mine drainage.