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Groundwater Insight - A critical resource

Brian Luinstra
Friday, March 9, 2018
First presented: 
Published in AusIMM Bulletin February 2018 Issue
At least one-quarter of mining projects in Australia encounter some type of groundwater challenge. As a mining hydrogeologist, I’ve seen projects go under as a result of having too much or too little water, or water that is contaminated. In my experience, water often doesn’t seem to be front of mind in the early stages of Australian mining projects. It is common to wait until the bankable phase of the project before investigating the project’s water supply – often, that’s too late.
When millions of dollars are on the line, complacency about groundwater can put the profitability of an entire project at risk. When millions of dollars are on the line, complacency about groundwater can put the profitability of an entire project at risk. Too often, the task begins well into the mining project’s development cycle and the opportunity to collect valuable groundwater data while exploration is underway is overlooked.
This article showcases some examples that demonstrate why it’s both practical and prudent to include a hydrogeological assessment as early as possible – during the exploration phase of a project, ideally prior to the scoping study being commissioned. Given the inherent risk and huge costs associated with developing mining projects, reframing the understanding of the significance and timing related to gathering groundwater data is an essential contributor to a project’s success.

This article was originally published in the February 2018 edition of the AusIMM Bulletin and is able to be viewed here

Feature Author

Brian Luinstra

Brian Luinstra has 19 years of experience in the field of geology and hydrogeology working primarily in Canada.  He has executed and managed a wide scope of hydrogeological assessments.  These include regional scale water budgets; water supply assessments; well head protection studies; aquifer hydraulic testing; groundwater monitoring network establishment and program implementation; aquifer conceptualisation and impact assessment; karst investigations and hydrological and hydrogeological modelling.  He is experienced working in remote locations, and has varying levels of proficiency with specialised geological and groundwater modelling packages.  Brian provides technical direction and review on hydrogeological projects, and has been project manager for several key clients.

Principal Consultant (Hydrogeology)
PhD (Earth Science), BSc (Geology)
SRK Perth
SRK North America