Environmental management is a significant part of the work in mining at Cadia. This model testing apparatus demonstrates the process of testing waste rock to see if the rock will generate acid or release metals into the environment.
A column sample made up of waste rock is placed in a plastic pot which is fitted with a funnel and sample bottle underneath. Each sample is flushed with deionised water each week, simulating rain. Heat lamps help replicate a day/night cycle, triggering evaporation and stimulating mineral reactions. After 4 weeks the sample is flushed again with deionised water, which allows the ions which have been liberated in the reactions to be flushed out of the column. The leachate is then tested for pH, electrical conductivity, dissolved anions and cations, and other tests. The results help Cadia Valley Operations manage the waste rock to prevent the release of acids into the soils and waterways.
Loan courtesy Cadia Valley Operations