Prospect Awards: Metso Outotec Excellence in Environmental Management


Australian Mining is proud to announce the finalists for the 2020 Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The Australian Mining Prospect Awards Metso Outotec Excellence in Environmental Management award recognises a mine, company, or project that has developed or carried out an innovative, environmentally focussed program.

“Reducing the environmental impacts of our industry, such as energy usage, water consumption and carbon footprint, is a top priority,” Metso Outotec stated.

“As a sponsor of the Excellence in Environmental Management Award, Metso Outotec has a strong sustainability culture and heritage, and is focussed on offering more responsible and efficient solutions in this space.

“It has been encouraging to see so many companies in the industry enter this important award category, and we wish to extend our congratulations to all the outstanding finalists.”

The finalists of the Metso Outotec Excellence in Environmental Management award are:

New Century Resources, site-specific rehabilitation design

New Century’s tailings storage facility (TSF) cover trials at the Century zinc mine in Queensland have involved the testing of three covers.

The designs were influenced by a 2012 investigation on a failed cover on the bulk sample tailings dam at the mine.

The covers were built as large trials (75 metres by 75 metres) on a section of the tailings in 2013 and have been monitored for the past seven years – one of the longest of its kind in Australia.

They are monitored for their infiltration into the cover, storage of rainfall, percolation through the base of the cover and in-situ soil water characteristic curves for predictive modelling.

Approaching 10 years of monitoring, cover one has been selected as the preferred option due to its balance between performance and constructability, with the trial providing valuable performance data of all the designs.

Decipher, tailings governance and disclosure

Wesfarmers-owned software-as-a-service company, Decipher, has designed a TSF cloud solution to help companies improve compliance, monitoring, reporting and disclosure of tailings data.

This follows the call for a new independent international standard on tailings and detailed disclosure information on TSFs by an investors group.

The process took around six weeks for some mining operators, many of which had well over 50 sites.

To overcome the issue, Decipher designed a cloud platform – a tailings governance, disclosure and monitoring solution that is built with Microsoft Azure and Google Earth Engine at its core.

This allows a variety of tailings monitoring data from IoT devices, LiDAR, radar, CCTV, drones, inspections and remote sensing to be captured and securely accessed by industry, regulators, engineers of record and operators involved.

Glencore’s Mangoola Coal Operations, Mangoola coal mine rehabilitation

Glencore has approached progressive mine rehabilitation by undertaking a full natural landform ecosystem restoration at the Mangoola open cut mine in New South Wales, making it the first Australian site to adopt such approach to mine site rehabilitation.

The company employed a restoration ecologist and used a GeoFluv natural landform evolution model to design the final rehabilitation landform. This is executed by GPS-guided dozers that shaped overburden dumps, while re-establishing vegetation communities on the shaped post mine landform.

It also performed seeding by hand, rather than machines, to ensure the accurate placement of the vegetation communities.

The team has rehabilitated over 670 hectares of mined land using the natural landform design, translocated endangered terrestrial orchids and recorded over 70 native fauna species in the rehabilitation.

Oleology, PFAS water treatment system

Oleology has developed an economical and robust method to remove perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from water.

PFAS are colourless, odourless and tasteless chemicals that are complicated to remove, but is harmful to the environment and humanity at very low levels. It impairs fertility and is linked to cancers.

PFAS is extensively used in fast moving consumer goods items and in industrial applications, resulting in the contamination of groundwater.

The Oleology has introduced a small footprint, low capital and installation cost PFAS water treatment plant that treats all contaminants through the same filtering sequence.

It produces water at less than detectable levels of PFAS across analytes and only a small volume of dry waste, meeting compliance with industry regulators.

The full list of Australian Mining Prospect Awards finalists can be viewed here.

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