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Modeling and management of pit lake water chemistry 2: Case studies

June 1, 2015

Pit lakes, a common product of open pit mining techniques, may become long-term, post-mining environmental risks or long-term, post-mining water resources depending upon management decisions. This study reviews two published pit lake modeling studies and one pit lake monitoring program in order to increase the transparency of approaches used in pit lake prediction and management. The first model is a two-year limnological simulation of the existing Dexter pit lake, Nevada, USA that accurately modeled temperature profiles, salinity profiles, and turnover events observed between 1999 and 2000. The second model is a 55-year prediction of a future pit lake in the Martha Mine, New Zealand that identified the need for additional mitigation and evaluated potential effects of cost-effective mitigation options. The final study reviews eight years of monitoring data collected from the Berkeley pit lake, Montana, USA, from 2004 to 2012. This study identifies changes in the physical limnology and water quality of the pit lake that resulted from metal recovery operations, and highlights the value of monitoring programs in general. Whereas these pit lakes are different in many ways, the management tools discussed herein maximized the value and understanding of the post-mining resources.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Modeling and management of pit lake water chemistry 2: Case studies
DOI 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.09.003
Authors D.N. Castendyk, Laurie S. Balistrieri, C.H. Gammons, N. Tucci
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Applied Geochemistry
Index ID 70203358
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center