Mine Water and the Environment

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 312–319 | Cite as

Ecological Restoration of Novel Lake Districts: New Approaches for New Landscapes

  • Clint D. McCullough
  • Eddie J. B. van Etten
Technical Communication


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.


Australia Germany Mining Pit lake Rehabilitation Restoration 


Además de los bien documentados efectos de polución acuática, las operaciones mineras tienen un gran efecto sobre las corrientes hidrológicas y el régimen de flujos en las áreas hidrológicamente conectadas, aguas abajo. Este trabajo documenta los cambios a largo plazo (1923–2008) que ocurrieron en las áreas superficiales de drenaje y los flujos de dos ríos pequeños o medianos (100–1,000 km2) drenando a través del campo Ordovician de petróleo de origen bituminoso del noreste de Estonia. Se relevó el impacto de la expansión de la actividad minera en el área desde mediados hasta finales del siglo 20, a través del análisis conjunto de los regímenes de flujo y de los datos mineros (velocidades de descarga y lugares con actividad minera). Durante las fases de la minería intensiva, el flujo en invierno y verano es entre 53–72% mayor que el promedio en el área Purtse y entre 66–92%% mayor en el área más pequeña de Pühajõgi donde la influencia volumétrica de las descargas mineras es mayor. La contribución de aguas subterráneas bombeadas a la superficie controla los mayores incrementos en el flujo medio anual. Aunque el impacto hidrológico más común que provocan las operaciones mineras sea el incremento del flujo, también pueden observarse fases de sequías en aquellos cursos de agua desfavorecidos por la transferencia de los desagües hacia otros cursos reduciendo el área hidrológica efectiva. Se analizan también las implicancias en el cambio del régimen de flujo sobre la calidad del río y las opciones para su control.





Thanks to Will Stock and Mark Lund (Centre for Ecosystem Management, Edith Cowan University), Mark Tibbett (Centre for Land Rehabilitation, University of Western Australia), and Steven Dickinson (Golder Associates) for fruitful discussions that helped the authors develop these ideas.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clint D. McCullough
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eddie J. B. van Etten
    • 1
  1. 1.Mine Water and Environment Research Centre (MiWER)Edith Cowan UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Golder AssociatesPerthAustralia

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