Indeed, as 10 of those days go by and the water is removed, the mine could be back in operation.
The New South Wales government allowed the variation providing strict conditions to protect water quality were adhered to.
The variation allows releases of 20 to 30 megalitres a day. At the same time the Keepit dam, upstream of the mine will be releasing 2 to 3 billion litres daily.
Releasing water at these rates could have the mine back in operation by February 26 and back at full production about two weeks after that.
The November and January rains forced Idemitsu Australia Resources’ Boggabri operation to suspend mining operations after dams and mining areas on site were inundated. The rains dropped more than 1 billion litres of water on the site.
The controlled release of surplus rainwater is part of the company’s plan to restore mining operations and ensure there is adequate water storage capacity on site for future rainfalls.
All rainwater releases from the mine will be monitored to comply with ANZECC 2000 – Aquatic Ecosystem Protection Guidelines and ANZECC 2000 Stock Drinking Water Guidelines.
Released water will be sampled at locations up and downstream of the Boggabri mine site.
Results will be provided to the NSW environmental authorities. The results from analysis of those water samples also will be made available to the public through IAR’s website.
Boggabri executive director operations Peter Westerhuis said the mine employed 450 people from the Boggabri and Gunnedah regions.
“We need to release surplus rainwater so we can recommence safe mining operations and protect their jobs,” he said.
“While the Namoi River is running at its current level, controlled rainwater releases will be significantly diluted and will not impact on water quality.”