McCullough, C.D. and E.J.B. van Etten
Mine void pit lakes often contain water of poor quality with potential for environmental harm that may dwarf other mine closure environmental issues in terms of severity, scope, and longevity. This is particularly so when many pit lakes occur close together and thus form a new “lake district” landscape. Pit lakes that can be developed into healthy lake or wetland ecosystems as a beneficial end use provide opportunities for the mining industry to fulfil commitments to sustainability. Clearly articulated restoration goals and a strategic closure plan are necessary to ensure pit lake restoration toward a new, yet regionally-relevant, aquatic ecosystem, which can achieve sustainability as an out-of-kind environmental offset. Such an approach must also consider obstacles to development of a self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem, such as water quality and ecological requirements. We recommend integration of pit lakes into their catchments as a landscape restoration planning exercise with clearly-identified roles and objectives for each new lake habitat and its surrounds.
Mine Water and the Environment