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Research helps mines manage water problems

Suzannah Baker, Friday December 6, 2013 - 13:02 EDT
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Flooding and drought could have less impact on mines around the world with new technology developed by the CSIRO. - ABC

Mines around the world will soon be better equipped to avoid significant impacts from water storage issues caused by weather.

Bowen Basin mines in central Queensland have been the centre of a CSIRO research program worth more than $1 million.

Dr Damian Barrett, the head of CSIRO's Water in the Resources Sector, says they've created a model that's proven mines can better prepare for weather events.

He says that, in the past, mines haven't had the ability to plan water management beyond short term weather forecasts, but that's set to change.

"It can be applied on any mine site anywhere in the world, providing the information on seasonal forecasts is available."

The industry called for research into better water management after severe flooding in 2011 interrupted mining and exports .

The technology uses longer term seasonal forecasts and he says there will be strong interest in central Queensland.

"The other big area in Australia is of course in the Pilbara and this is an area that has a wet/dry climate, but is periodically impacted by low pressure systems and cyclones." Dr Barrett said.

There's still a little while though before it will be available for use on Australian mine sites.

"At the moment ,we're in the research and development phase, but we expect that it will be developed into a web service in one to two years."


© ABC 2013

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