Research Publications

Earth Systems is staffed by multidisciplinary environmental professionals that are active contributors to their selected professional communities. The following page makes available a selection of informative publications authored or co-authored by our staff. Publications are broken into the following topics:

Acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD/ARD)

Global heavy metal pollution (AMD/ARD) impacts (2012)

Presented at the 1st International Acid and Metalliferous Drainage Workshop in China, this paper briefly discusses the global social, environmental and economic impacts AMD/ARD.

Identification and prediction of heavy metal pollution (AMD/ARD) risk (2012)

Presented at the 1st International Acid and Metalliferous Drainage Workshop in China, this paper briefly describes the  risks of AMD/ARD within a mining context.

Alkalinity producing cover materials for providing sustained improvement in water quality from waste rock piles (2006)

This paper discusses the solubility and dissolution characteristics of specialized calcium-enriched caustic magnesia (MgO) materials which makes them ideal for use as an alkaline amendment in new and existing waste rock covers.

Successfully lowering the risks and costs associated with the legacy of the abandoned Brukunga Pyrite mine, South Australia (2006)

This paper discusses the steps taken to reduce the AMD risks at the Brukunga mine site in southern Australia. Improvements in site water containment and collection, upgrades to treatment facilities and improvements to downstream water quality are discussed.

Chemical stability of acid drainage treatment sludge and implications for sludge management (2006)

This paper investigates the stability of a range of AMD treatment sludges. The stability of the sludges and their susceptibility to leaching under certain conditions is related to their inherent neutralizing potential.

A summary of passive and active treatment technologies for Acid and Metalliferous Drainage (AMD) (2006)

This paper explains the concept of acidity and acidity load before summarizing the range of available treatment technologies. Also discussed at some depth is the difference between passive and active systems along with examples of each outlining their benefits and limitations.

Treating ARD – how, when, where and why (2003)

This paper focuses on the various passive and active treatment alternatives, examining their strengths, weaknesses and suitability for particular applications. The paper provides a starting point for selecting an appropriate technology to meet specific treatment requirements and goals.

Preventing Pollution from Decommissioned Underground Mines: Inert Atmosphere Technology

Earth Systems has developed and successfully implemented an innovative, low cost and low risk alternative to existing AMD management options. This is a brief case study showing early results from two derelict mines in Australia.

Coming to Terms with Acid Drainage

Using case studies from the Asia-Pacific, this paper reviews and evaluates a range of established techniques, recent advances and new concepts developed for the control and management of acid drainage from mine sites. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and highlights where each can be most cost effectively and successfully used. It also reviews some areas of continuing research into cost-effective techniques for minimising or avoiding acid drainage formation, techniques that offer hope for expanding the future options of environmental managers.

From Concept to Best Practice – Innovations in AMD Prevention and Management (2008)

This paper reviews a wide range of technologies for combating acidic and metalliferous drainage (AMD), spanning characterization, prevention, mitigation and treatment.

Rehabilitation of a Highly Sulfidic Tailings Dam in South-eastern Australia (2008)

The paper discusses the rehabilitation strategies used to address short and long-term environmental issues at an abandoned mine site. The key objective was to minimise oxidation of the tailings, and therefore AMD generation, by establishing a water cover and self-sustaining passive treatment system.

Nutrient control and algal blooms (AMD)

Use of active barriers to reduce eutrophication problems in urban lakes (2003)

Phosphorous release from bottom sediments in lakes has been identified as a primary source of nutrients for the growth of algal blooms. This paper examines the effectiveness of three forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) as barriers against phosphorus release from bottom sediments.

Water quality

A mobile and portable water treatment plant for small town water supplies (2000)

This paper examines the performance of a low-cost, portable Neutra-Mill Water Treatment System (the Turbidity Mill) during treatment of small town drinking water supplies. A single portable Turbidity Mill was effective at reducing the suspended solids in small drinking water reservoirs at several towns.

Kinetic testwork

Presented at the 1st International Acid and Metalliferous Drainage Workshop in China this paper discusses the oxygen consumption (OxCon) testwork techniques along with key benefits.

The benefits of kinetic testwork using oxygen consumption techniques and implications for the management of sulfidic materials (2011)

A key component of understanding and managing the acid metalliferous drainage (AMD), or acid mine drainage (ARD), risk associated with sulfidic materials involves quantifying their rate of oxidation. This rate is directly proportional to the pollution generation rate from sulfidic materials.

Key advantages of this oxygen consumption (OxCon) testwork are that it is low cost, fast to complete (eg. 1 to 6 weeks depending on sulfide content), provides a high degree of accuracy, can simulate the full range of oxygen concentrations, it is not influenced by sulfate precipitation or dissolution reactions, permits sensitive control over a broad range of variables moisture content in particular) and can provide typical leachate water chemistry after testwork is complete.

This paper discusses the oxygen consumption (OxCon) testwork and the benefits.

Recent News

Report for The International Network for Acid Prevention

26 May 2020

Earth Systems in collaboration with Okane Consultants, released a report providing new insight into ensuring low polluting mine operations, and more successful mine closure outcomes.

The report reviews conventional mine rock stockpile construction methods, and summarises improved construction technologies that are available to help improve water quality from mine wastes. Continued efforts to implement these technologies will help quantify their environmental and economic benefits.


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