Research Themes

Sustainable mining practices embeds the principles of sustainable development into a mining and minerals context. At its core is the belief that through the responsible development of the world’s mineral resources, the global population will be able to access the mineral resources they demand for both a higher standard of living and better access to energy. It is an important tool in alleviating poverty. Companies who practice sustainable mining combine these key elements.

ACSMP focuses on 4 key areas of research: Sustainability and People; Environmental Management; Water Management and Mine Waste Management.  Our philosophy combines these elements and considers the wider community and governance implications, realising a pathway and synergies for sustainable mining.

Theme 1: Sustainability and People.
Assoc. Prof. David Laurence, Theme Lead. 

  • Mine Closure Planning
  • Capacity Building
  • Identifying Indigenous Opportunities
  • Managing Environmental and Social Impact
  • Community Engagement Planning

Theme 2: Environmental Management. 
Dr Simit Raval, Theme Lead.

  • Best-practice Rehabilitation Planning
  • Monitoring and Measuring
  • Evolved Understanding of Emissions 
  • Risk Management
  • Leading-practice During Operations

Theme 3: Waste Management. 

  • C02 Capture and Sequestration
  • Phytomining
  • Co-disposal of Coarse and Fine Coal Waste
  • Selenium

Theme 4: Water Management.

  • Government Approvals
  • Water Supply, Storage and Treatment
  • Groundwater Resources
  • Wetlands, Alternate Land Use
  • Water Abstraction, Diversion

Dr Wendy Timms at titanium mine site

ACSMP engineers also team with water experts across UNSW’s Global Water Institute to provide the best solutions for mine water and waste. Our personnel have decades of experience on mine sites, with inter-disciplinary approaches in mine planning, dewatering and groundwater management, mine environmental management particularly related to subsidence of underground mines, efficient mineral extraction and waste sequestration, and remote sensing of the mine environment. 

We promote responsible and sustainable development of the world’s mineral resources, minimising impacts on water resources and the environment. We improve the capacity of the global population to access mineral resources and energy while pro-actively managing safety, productivity and environmental risks from mine water and waste through training and research in leading practices and technologies.  

The ACSMP is widely known for:

  • Promoting leading sustainable mining practices and corporate-environment-social responsibility
  • Bridging between the mining industry, government agencies, community and NGO’s to limit environmental impacts
  • Capacity building and development of community impact-benefit evaluations for mine water and environment
  • The only Australian provider of both innovative research services and educational resources across tertiary and professional training sectors
  • Research that combines hydrogeological and geomechanical approaches to improve water management in mining
  • Providing advanced mine water analysis and water tracing and fingerprinting
  • First group beyond North America to apply advanced vapour laser analysis of 18O and ­2H isotopes directly on moist rock cores, sediment, soils and tailings for comparison with water isotopes

Keystone Projects include:

  • Mine site water balance, multiple mines sites in Hunter Valley, Western NSW, Queensland
  • Mine water safety and productivity issues related to underground extensions of open cut mines – South Australia, Queensland
  • Mine planning for extreme rainfall events, South America and Australia
  • Improving mine safety – managing groundwater and corrosion of mine roof support, multiple mine sites
  • Mineral carbonation using ultramafic tailings and acid mine water, and related projects for carbon sequestration
  • Future options for mine voids and pit lakes, Hunter Valley
  • Integrity of overburden rock for underground mining, Sydney Basin
  • Hydraulic and isotope techniques to measure connectivity, Gunnedah Basin
  • Remote sensing of mine waters and progressive rehabilitation using satellite and novel UAV equipment
  • Remote water sample collection and monitoring data download with novel UAV equipment
  • Modelling and core testing for evaluating seepage, Galilee Basin
  • Design of barriers to limit groundwater flow between an open pit mine and surface water, Northern Territory
  • Community consultative agreements for benefit-impact, Canada
  • Inspection and review of water management at mines sites – Asia-Pacific, Africa, South and North America, Europe