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Realizing Beneficial End Uses from Abandoned Pit Lakes

Mine Lakes Consulting, Perth 6027, Australia
UFZ-Helmhotz-Centre for Environmental Research, 39114 Magdeburg, Germany
Vandenberg Water Science, Kelowna, BC V1P 1H9, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(2), 133;
Received: 20 December 2019 / Revised: 28 January 2020 / Accepted: 30 January 2020 / Published: 2 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Abandoned Mines)
Pit lakes can represent significant liabilities at mine closure. However, depending upon certain characteristics of which water quality is key, pit lakes often also present opportunities to provide significant regional benefit and address residual closure risks of both their own and overall project closure and even offset the environmental costs of mining by creating new end uses. These opportunities are widely dependent on water quality, slope stability, and safety issues. Unfortunately, many pit lakes have continued to be abandoned without repurposing for an end use. We reviewed published pit lake repurposing case studies of abandoned mine pit lakes. Beneficial end use type and outcome varied depending upon climate and commodity, but equally important were social and political dynamics that manifest as mining company commitments or regulatory requirements. Many end uses have been realized: passive and active recreation, nature conservation, fishery and aquaculture, drinking and industrial water storage, greenhouse carbon fixation, flood protection and waterway remediation, disposal of mine and other waste, mine water treatment and containment, and education and research. Common attributes and reasons that led to successful repurposing of abandoned pit lakes as beneficial end uses are discussed. Recommendations are given for all stages of mine closure planning to prevent pit lake abandonment and to achieve successful pit lake closure with beneficial end uses. View Full-Text
Keywords: mine lake; pit lake; closure; planning; repurposing; end use; water quality mine lake; pit lake; closure; planning; repurposing; end use; water quality
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MDPI and ACS Style

McCullough, C.D.; Schultze, M.; Vandenberg, J. Realizing Beneficial End Uses from Abandoned Pit Lakes. Minerals 2020, 10, 133.

AMA Style

McCullough CD, Schultze M, Vandenberg J. Realizing Beneficial End Uses from Abandoned Pit Lakes. Minerals. 2020; 10(2):133.

Chicago/Turabian Style

McCullough, Cherie D., Martin Schultze, and Jerry Vandenberg. 2020. "Realizing Beneficial End Uses from Abandoned Pit Lakes" Minerals 10, no. 2: 133.

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