Mount Isa Mines

Mount Isa Mines is a copper and zinc mining complex, consisting of multiple orebodies. Since 2010, KCB has completed various groundwater and geochemical assessments at this mining complex. We assessed the potential impacts of a series of mine expansions, pit closures, and associated waste rock dumps on the levels and quality of local surface water and groundwater systems.

Challenges

  • Developing a conceptual understanding of the groundwater system which have been influence by mining activities for the past ~85 years.
  • Quantifying the conceptual understanding of water movements across the mine complex, while incorporating strong seasonal variability across the site.
  • Identification of potential impacts to downstream surface water and groundwater receptors.

Solutions

  • Review of existing hydrological, hydrogeological and geological data for development of a conceptual groundwater model.
  • Development of an integrated water balance model, including groundwater and geochemical modeling, for the tailings storage facility, using GoldSim software.
  • Development of a mass transport model to predict potential seepage from the tailings storage facility.

Successes

  • Segregating the mine complex into various domains to allow specific assessments to be undertaken and identifying inter-linkages between these domains.
  • Using the integrated water balance model to support mitigation and management strategies for the mine.
  • Predicting potential impacts and associated timing of potential impacts from proposed mine activities.