Together with the mine to shut in the close of March 2017, countless local residents confront unemployment. After the mining ceases, the pit in Hazelwood will gradually come to be a pit river since it matches with groundwater.
Several choices are on the table to its Hazelwood lake, and questions are raised regarding the price of rehabilitating mine.
There are hundreds and hundreds of pit lakes around each inhabited continent, but few are designed for individuals to use for diversion. Even though Australians are embracing these lakes for fishing and swimming, many pit lakes are dangerous and are on private grounds.
But, pit lakes may also be sources of revenue via diversion or industry, especially for local communities following the mining ceases.
German Brown Coal Mines
The challenge for those inhabitants of the Latrobe Valley (along with other mining areas) would be to choose just how fresh pit lakes may benefit the local market.
Lignite (brown coal) mines were shut in East Germany following reunification in 1990, inducing regional financial meltdown and emigration.
In an effort to increase the local market, the German authorities tasked with a state-owned firm with quickly rehabilitating the landscape and filling the pits with river and groundwater for recreational usage.
Businesses utilize the steep slopes of gradually filling pit lakes as wineries, whilst spa resorts with lakeside boulevards appeal to upmarket clientele.
Germany’s experience proves that pit lakes may result in general advantage. But a number of these lakes require costly ongoing active therapy, such as liming and draining water through treatment centers.
Because (in part) into the remoteness and low population density of Australia, this degree of active therapy is not likely to be economically viable.
But busy ongoing treatment is not the only choice for enhancing pit lakes. Pit lakes possess the ability to change over time and eventually become like natural lakes.
Pit lakes may naturally enhance over decades (as noticed from the coal-strip lakes of the US Midwest), even if they’re subjected to passive therapies that increase the number of nutrition, beneficial seeds, microbes and insect creatures.
Each pit lake has a special suite of physical and biological characteristics which make it easier or more challenging to rehabilitate. Even the US coal-strip pit lakes could be considered simple to rehabilitate since they were shallow, had big catchments and considerable quantities of organic matter. On the other hand, the lakes nevertheless took decades to recuperate.
It is difficult to state precisely how Hazelwood will pile up with this scale without visiting modelling, but we could presume that its substantial size will cause problems, as will any possible water quality problems.
On the flip side, because the pit remains dry there is an chance for pre-filling remedies that enhance biodiversity and water quality.
Careful introduction of proper wetland plants can boost the system. Working together with hydrologists and engineers, drainage lines linking the pit lake into the broader catchment can offer the lake with resources of terrestrial nutrition to kickstart ecosystem growth.
Passive processes have a tendency to be slow. The challenge to scientists is to rate up them. But lots of the environmental processes that underpin pit reef growth (as explained previously) are well-studied in natural and artificial lakes.
Turning a left pit lake to a hotel isn’t a far-fetched thought. Since Germany’s mine pit jobs reveal, communities may adopt a changing market, as well as the science suggests that passive treatment methods may enhance pit lakes.
The heritage of previous mines and our requirement for resources will make sure that pit lakes will likely be generated. Finally, we’ll need to determine how we would like to co-exist with those new lakes.