Specialist technology give Mount Morgan mine clean future
A NEW deal for the historic Mount Morgan mine will use specialist technology to boost environmental management and flood protection and save more than $150,000 a year.
Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham today announced a management agreement with mine remediation experts Carbine Resources for water treatment at the 130-plus-year-old mine.
"This delivers a great package of benefits for central Queensland and the ongoing management of the mine's environmental issues," Dr Lynham said.
"Carbine Resources' specialist water treatment expertise will mean better environmental outcomes, with more water from the pit decontaminated, without using fresh water.
"Carbine is also looking into using cutting edge technology to extract gold, copper and pyrite resources from the tailings stockpiles, and copper from the pit water, giving a piece of Queensland mining history a new opportunity to be a mineral producer."
The former Mount Morgan Mine operated from 1882 until 1990, producing copper and gold. The Queensland Government took over management of the historic mine site in 1991, including the former open cut pit and its 12,000 megalitres of contaminated water.
A lime-dosing water treatment plant has been operating onsite since 2008 and is used to remove metal contaminants and neutralise acid levels, before treated pit water is allowed to enter the Dee River.
Dr Lynham said Carbine Resources would use water polishing technology to treat up to 500 megalitres of mine pit water over 12 months - at least three times what the existing treatment plant achieved in 2014-15.
"Carbine Resources will boost the existing plant's capacity with specialist technology that will mean fresh water won't be needed any more to operate the plant," he said.
"If we don't need to store freshwater in dams onsite to operate the plant, this means more capacity to cope with heavy rainfall without run-off.
"Better water treatment will also drop the water level in the mine pit, which in turn reduces the risk of contaminated pit water overflowing into the Dee River, as it did in 2013.
"Finally, the deal will achieve cost savings for the department because the water treatment plant currently costs approximately $1.4 million each year to operate."
Dr Lynham said Carbine was currently doing feasibility studies into the potential to reprocess mineral tailing stockpiles on the mine site.
"The company expects to be on site operating early in the new year."