Sinclair Knight Merz has published an article on its website discussing how mine sustainability can be improved by including the accommodation camps and villages in the overall design plans.
The article, ‘Improving Sustainability of Mine Camps’ written by SKM senior sustainable buildings consultant Jody Finsen, outlines sustainable design practices in a case study of St Babara’s Lenora Village in Western Australia’s north-eastern goldfields.
According to Finsen, mining companies must manage the environment in order to maintain a sound reputation in the international marketplace.
“Since sustainability best practice recognises the need to reduce the mine site’s ecological footprint, it is logical to include the mine camp in this equation,” she said.
“Many mining companies have embedded sustainability principles into mine camp design for decades and their experience in this area can be shared with other miners new to these concepts.
“The application of sustainable development principles can include the selection of location, materials, energy and waste management for the mine village.
“In this way, the mine village can be developed using socially and environmentally responsible design principles.”
Mid-tier gold producer and explorer St Babara commissioned SKM to carry out a camp design study, which led to the development of a new village near Leonora.
“The new village, built within a sustainable framework, illustrates what can unfold when companies go beyond compliance to achieve the best possible environmental outcome,” Finsen said.
“Results to date indicate a reduction of per head water use of 50% and energy use of 30%.”
The village was designed with concrete floors, parasol rooves, solar energy generation, grey water re-use systems as well as energy and water efficient appliances.
Leonora was recognised with a ‘Certificate of Merit’ from the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum at the 2009 Golden Gecko awards.