Kalbar Conversations Column

The importance of water

   Friday 25th September, 2020

Water is an integral part of the operations of the Fingerboards project. We simply cannot operate without water. Water is needed for processing, tailings disposal and dust control management.

We expect that 3 gigalitres of water per annum will be required and that most of this water will be sourced from Mitchell River winterfill. Our water requirements will be supplemented with groundwater from the deep Latrobe Group Aquifer.

Managing water involves many disciplines, including engineering, hydrology, hydrogeology and ecology.

For us, water is not only about having sufficient water for site operations, but also about the challenge of managing large volumes of water as a result of site run-off; including the quality of water to other users and the environment.

As such, the Fingerboards project includes the construction of dams for freshwater storage, process water, contingency water and water run-off management.

We intend to fill our freshwater storage dam by pumping winterfill flows from the Mitchell River. The Mitchell River Basin Local Management Plan (SRW 2014) requires winterfill users to only extract water from 1 July to 31 October, provided river flows are not less than 1,400 megalitres per day.

Our contingency water dam will be filled via groundwater, sourced from the Latrobe Group Aquifer – some 300 metres below ground.

Kalbar will need to ensure that there is no uncontrolled release of water from the project area. We have applied to the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for a Works Approval for the controlled discharge of clean water from site. This Works Approval can be viewed alongside the Fingerboards project EES currently on public exhibition.

In order to control surface water run-off and maximise water re-use, we will build (and rehabilitate) 19 water management dams during the life of the project. These dams will capture run-off from undisturbed areas (upstream), rehabilitated areas, and active mining and disturbed areas. Dams containing undisturbed water will pipe intercepted water into the receiving waterway to maintain environmental flows. The water management dams will be constructed, removed and rehabilitated progressively as mining advances along the mine path.

The process water dam will be used to transfer water from the freshwater storage, contingency water dam and water management dams to be used for processing (to slurry the ore for pumping and mineral separation), tailings management and dust suppression, rehabilitation and potable site water uses.

We encourage you to find out more about our water management plans by visiting our website – https://www.fingerboardsproject.com.au

Chris Cook - Project Consultant