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Kidston Waste Rock Dump Design and ‘Store and Release’ Cover Performance Seven Years On

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  • The design and rehabilitation of potentially acid forming (PAF) waste rock dumps is site specific, being a function, among other factors, of the rock types, the dumping and storage method employed, and the climatic setting. The ‘store and release’ cover system developed to manage acid rock drainage (ARD) from mineralised waste rock dumps at Kidston Gold Mines’ open pit operations in the semi-arid climate of North Queensland, Australia, has been monitored for seven years. The paper describes the philosophy behind the design of the PAF dump and ‘store and release’ cover system and the adaptation of the cover system over time to suit Kidston’s conditions. The results of monitoring over the seven years since the first cover was constructed are presented, and the approach being taken at Kidston to ensure that the risk of impacts from any residual ARD is accommodated and to facilitate lease surrender are described. The Kidston story is a valuable case study of a successful approach to remediating an identified source of ARD in a semi-arid climate, which has actively engaged all Stakeholders.

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