Researchers will conduct geotechnical and hydrogeological studies of mine batters to help make open-cut mining safer, thanks to a state government grant announced on Monday.
Minister for energy and resources Lily D’Ambrosio this week launched the Batter Stability project at Energy Australia’s brown coal open-cut mine in Gippsland.
Researchers from Federation University will carry out the five year project at the mine site, with technical support provided by the state’s mining regulator, Earth Resources Regulation.
The work will survey mine batters – the sloping pit walls between the top of the mine and its floor.
Batters can become unstable due to the interaction of surface and ground water levels, excavation work and the structure and strength of soils and rock, D’Ambrosio outlined.
If stability becomes bad enough, a slope could collapse, or create a sink hole.
“The findings from this research project will be used to make open cut mining in Victoria safer for workers and the community,” D’Ambrosio said.
“This partnership between the Andrews Labor Government, Federation University and Energy Australia is a great example of how we can work together to make mining operations in Victoria among the safest and most sustainable in the world.”
The project comes from recommendations to study the risk factors that affect batter stability in mines, made by the state’s independent mining Technical Review Board.
The open cut mine at Yallourn has experienced flooding issues on at least three occasions in the past decade, due to wall collapses and other batter issues.
Field work will start immediately and is scheduled for completion by June 2020.