John Ford is an environmental officer for Cadia Mines near Orange. His work involves a large amount of monitoring on site for water quality and flows as well as environmental compliance. He also monitors dust, noise levels, fauna and flora and ensures the company meets the relevant regulations and compliances.
"We don't release any contaminated water into the creek – we’'re a zero discharge site. I would say it's a very efficient use of water. It's something we are very focused on."
There are two main water holding dams and two tailings dams at Cadia and a large number of smaller sediment and leachate dams. Cadiangullong dam is our main water supply dam and its catchment is from the southern side of Mount Canobolas. Upper Rodds Creek dam is a storage dam for water from the tailings dams. We also extract water from the Belubula River.
The tailings are the waste products from our process. It's waste rock with no minerals in it. The dam is designed so we can dry the tailings out.
Cadiangullong water is used for our process and also for our potable water for Ridgeway Mine as well as fire and service water for the underground mine.
We also use Orange and Blayney effluent water and we have a significant recirculation process.
We don't release any contaminated water into the creek – we're a zero discharge site. I would say it's a very efficient use of water. It's something we are very focused on.
When we had dry spells the water storage did get down. We had a large review of it including sourcing water from elsewhere and prioritising our uses.
The drought has been the greatest challenge. It impacted on our ground water levels and our flows.