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A Review of the Acid Rock Drainage Potential and Hydrological Implications of Selectively-Placed Waste Rock at a Gold Mine in NSW, Australia

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  • Prior to the commencement of mining, the acid rock drainage (ARD) potential of the waste rock to be produced by an open cut mining operation is assessed by a variety of techniques carried out on drill-hole samples. These include, among others, acid base accounting (ABA), net acid generation (NAG) testing, and kinetic testing. Based on the results obtained, a strategy for the identification, separation and selective placement of waste rock having different potentials to form ARD is developed. During the course of mining, the waste rock classification scheme will be re-assessed periodically to confirm that it is appropriate. This re-evaluation may result in a change in classification scheme, and waste rock dump samples may be obtained for ARD assay purposes to confirm the appropriateness of the revised scheme. The paper describes the evolution over time of the scheme used to classify waste rock at a major open pit gold operation in New South Wales, Australia, including the development of a hydrological model. To confirm the appropriateness of the revised scheme, ARD assay testing was carried out on drill-hole samples collected from dumps having different ARD potential designations, including Non-Acid Forming (NAF), Potentially Acid Forming (PAF), and Low Grade Ore stockpiles. The results of the ARD assay testing and water quality monitoring confirmed the appropriateness of the ARD potential designations and the revised classification scheme, which has been adopted.

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