Associated Event

Mine Closure 2024
26–28 November 2024 | The Westin Perth, Western Australia

Pit Lake Closure: Processes, Risks, Opportunities and Planning Workshop

24 November 2024 | Perth, Western Australia

Event will be held in person only, full day workshop.

About the workshop

The first time the Pit Lakes Workshop was held was in 2011 at Mine Closure 2011, Lake Louise, Canada where 85 attendees crowded the room for an informative and interesting course. A second workshop was held in Perth in 2019, again to capacity.  

As key contributors to the literature and practice of pit lake closure internationally, we plan a similar interactive workshop, with both pit lake background and leading practice being presented to enable a better understanding of pit lake closure and management planning to a broad range of stakeholders and skills and experiences. This workshop is also an ideal forum to network with like-minded professionals who share interests in mine closure and pit lakes.  

Of relevance to any professional wherever they might be globally located or have projects, the objective of this course is to introduce attendees to key considerations and issues that should be addressed in the mine planning process to increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation and closure of mine operations with pit lakes. Examples of issues and potential management strategies to address them are given with reference to presenter’s experiences in Australia, South America and Asia and North America.  

Who should attend the workshop?

Mine closure planning practitioners, mining industry engaged, researchers, mining project stakeholders, mining industry regulators and allied professionals:

  • Regulators
  • Consultants
  • Company representatives

A broad range of technical disciplines: 

  • Closure planning practitioners
  • Hydrogeologists
  • Environmental scientists
  • Geochemists
  • Stakeholder engagement specialists
  • Mine planners
  • Mine managers
  • Mine law practitioners 


Time Program

Welcome, overview and introduction to pit lakes 

An introduction and overview of pit lakes; what they are, where they are, how they form and their key attributes. Examples will be given of various pit lake forms and socio-environmental contexts from around the globe. 


Key issues with pit lakes 

Risks from pit lakes are primarily due to both safety and environmental factors, especially the vast volumes of often contaminated waters that pit lakes can present. We present Australian and international case studies where risks have prevented or delayed successful closure and examples where risks have been mitigated to still achieve closure. 



Water balance strategies 

Containment or remediation of contaminated mine waters can sometimes be achieved by manipulation of the water balance. This section covers key components to water balances with case studies where water balance has been used as the key strategy by which to achieve closure. 


Key opportunities with pit lakes 

There are some simple rules to achieving and then planning for next land use(s) for pit lakes. This section will overview key considerations and steps to planning for opportunities with international and Australian examples. 


Interactive Break-Out Session 1 

Assess and resolve real case studies as part of a small mixed break-out group of practitioners: regulators, companies and consultants. 


Pit lake closure planning guidance and synthesis 


Interactive Break-Out Session 2 

Enthusiastic presentations and audience responses to the findings of break-out groups. 


Future management needs and regulatory challenges for pit lakes 

We close the workshop with some thoughts on where pit lake closure practice is headed and the challenges it presents to broader closure outcomes. 


*Program subject to change.

About the presenter

Dr Cherie McCullough
Director and Principal Environmental Scientist
Mine Lakes Consulting

Cherie is director of Mine Lakes Consulting and principal environmental scientist. She has over 25 years’ experience in consulting and research focused on the mining industry and water resources. Cherie’s primary skills are in environmental management, ecotoxicology, ecology, geochemistry and hydrogeology. Cherie is a recognised leading international expert on pit lake sustainability, mine closure planning and rehabilitation with project experience across Australasia, Asia, and North and South America.

She has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal and conference proceedings papers, book chapters, leading practice industry guidelines, a book and international industry articles and conference presentations on pit lakes, mine closure, aquatic ecology and ecotoxicology. Cherie has helped develop guidance for mine closure, pit lakes and mine water impacts for Western Australia, South Australia, the Commonwealth of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Canada, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the United Nations.

A senior lecturer with Western Australian universities for over 10 years, Cherie also helps deliver AusIMM’s Integrated Mine Closure professional course.