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Mineral Resources Tasmania

Monash University PhD project at Mt Lyell, Queenstown

The Mining Sector Innovation Initiative Program (MSIIP), managed by Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT), funds collaborative work between government, industry, and research institutions. The program focuses on four research streams, one being the investigation of innovative solutions for mine rehabilitation and remediation.

Monash University PhD candidate, Tamara Herzog, is currently pursuing a research project, funded by MSIIP, which aims to determine innovative remediation strategies for Haulage Creek, a tributary of the Queen River near Queenstown, Tasmania.

Historic operations at the Mt Lyell copper mine in Queenstown have - and continue to - contribute to elevated metal concentrations in Haulage Creek, which flows downstream to the Queen and King Rivers, eventually reporting to the King River Delta at Macquarie Harbour.

Tamara’s PhD project is exploring the effectiveness of passive remediation techniques by using plants (phytoremediation) and wood (biosorbents) to ‘mine’ the metals from the Queen River. Passive remediation techniques generally require lower ongoing maintenance and chemical additions; however, are most commonly used for lower metal concentrations and require further investigation for the site-specific conditions at Haulage Creek and the Queen River.

Experimenting with the pre-treatment of river water, different plant species established along the west coast rivers, and wood waste products, Tamara hopes to find a cost-effective and environmentally conscious option to remediate the Queen River and extract economic levels of metal resources which are literally washing away!