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Water induced erosion of mine waste : complicating characteristics and predictive tools Harrison, Bevin J.

Abstract

The results of erosion of sediment loading from mine waste deposits extend far beyond the mine footprint itself. Material that migrates into local rivers degrades water quality and the habitats of many wildlife species dependent on it. Predicting erosion rates to take the appropriate prevention and remediation steps is key to minimizing the off-site impacts of migrating mine waste. This study comprises an in-depth review of the detachment and transport mechanisms of water induced erosion. It evaluates the current tools available for predicting the rates of water induced erosion for their use in the mining industry and explores the relationships, limits and threshold conditions under which water induced erosion is accelerated. A sensitivity analysis of the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model is provided for a generic oxide/sulphide mine in South East Asia to demonstrate not only the model sensitivity but also its applicability to industries outside the agricultural realm for which it was originally developed.

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