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Management of Acid Drainage in the Australian Minerals Industry

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  • Confirmation that acid drainage (AD) was a significant environmental issue for the Australian minerals industry came in 1992 with the first national workshop on the topic. Subsequently the extent of AD was documented in a national survey published in 1997. The recommendations arising out of that survey served as a platform for actions by government, industry and industry-support organisations such as the Australian Centre for Mining Environmental Research (ACMER) to enable more effective prevention and management of AD. This paper briefly documents the extent of AD in the industry, the government regulations and guidelines for AD management, industry initiatives, the role of ACMER and other organisations in assisting industry through research and technology transfer, and the efforts being made to deal with AD at derelict mines. Future management of AD in the industry will be assisted by the linkage of Australia (through ACMER) into the International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP) which is facilitating the interchange of knowledge on AD as well as coordinating global research on the topic.

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