Rarely does an opportunity arise to allow closure of a mine site to be planned as a key beneficial land use asset within a new urban growth area, particularly well prior to cessation of mining.
Pit lakes are common mine closure legacies for many open cut mines and may form in open cut mine voids extending below the water table upon closure. Mine closure guidelines increasingly require post-mining land uses of equivalent utility to premining conditions that minimise long-term post-mining liabilities and maximise benefits to stakeholders and the environment. However, risks presented by pit lakes are regularly neglected in closure planning, or are not able to be addressed to allow beneficial end use of the lake or surrounding land.
This paper describes strategic planning initiated by quarry owners ten years before mining ceases. In liaison with the planning agencies, the planned closure of a large 100 year old limestone quarry pit will form a lake on quarry completion, with a well-considered beneficial end use in an urban setting in mind. The quarry pit and adjoining land at Batesford South abut the edge of the City of Greater Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Geelong is experiencing growth pressures that necessitate development of a new growth area from about 2025. The land around the quarry pit oﬀers the potential to be the new growth area.
A multidisciplinary expert team assessed the constraints, opportunities and feasibility of rehabilitating the quarry and pit lake and developing thesurrounding land as area to be named ‘new town’.
The concept is exciting and demonstrates that the former mine site could become a valued home to about 61 000–65 000 people. About 30 per cent of the land will be developed as an ecological riverine corridor, including the pit lake, which will become a regionally iconic recreation resource as the centrepieceof the urban development.
Our paper outlines technical challenges and how these can be met to achieve closure and beneficial use that meets the social, economic and environmentalexpectations of contemporary urban planning.
Gerner, M. & McCullough, C. D. (2018). Planning for a positive future: development of beneficial end uses from a quarry pit lake, Victoria, Australia in From start to finish: A life of mine perspective (pp. 249-258). Brisbane: AusIMM.