UTAS Honours Project at Royal George Tailings Repository
The Mining Sector Innovation Initiative Program (MSIIP), managed by Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT), funds collaborative work between government, industry, and research institutions. The program aims to host research projects focused on four project areas, one being the investigation of innovative solutions for mine rehabilitation and remediation.
In November 2021, UTAS honours student, Zak Weidinger, supervised by Centre of Ore Deposit (CODES) researchers Matthew Cracknell, Michael Roach, and Clare Miller completed an Environmental Earth Science honours project, funded through MSIIP, at the legacy Royal George Tailings Repository.
Remediation works carried out on site between 2008 and 2019, have resulted in the successful revegetation and stabilization of the tailings; however, the influx of surface and groundwater through the system continues to result in the production and mobilization of acid mine drainage.
The UTAS study aimed to assess the thickness and structure of the Royal George tailings as well as model and detect change in internal waterflow pathways throughout the site. Zak used a range of complimentary geophysical techniques and time lapse hydro-geophysical methods to map the extent of the tailings material, determine spatial and temporal water table variations, and measure revegetation success across the site.
The findings of this project will provide insight about long-term processes occurring on- site and will help guide the development of an effective remediation strategy.
Zak collecting data in his field area.