NEWCREST is proceeding with plans to utilise its disused open-cut mining pit as a storage facility for its tailings.
During its 18 days of dormancy at the Cadia site, the mining giant has been looking into whether production could resume with tailings – the mine’s post-production waste material – being pumped into the unaffected southern dam or the Cadia Hill open-cut pit.
The need for a contingency was brought about by the partial collapse of the wall separating the southern and northern tailings dams on Friday, March 9.
Workers are returning underground as of Tuesday, with the ore they produce to be stockpiled on the surface awaiting the reactivation of the site’s production assets, which are dependent on appropriate tailings storage.
In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Newcrest said it had been working with NSW regulators on green lighting the open pit tailings option, and has “commenced procurement of some of the necessary equipment to allow this possibility to be utilised if approved”.
General Manager Peter Sharpe said the first area Newcrest was looking at utilising was the southern tailings dam – which is below the collapsed wall – but more work is needed to ensure deposits could be made safely.
Newcrest has not started repairs on the section of the wall which collapsed, with priority currently being given to containment.
The investigation into the collapse is still underway, with international experts as well as an internal team examining the failure.
Mr Sharpe said that no environmental damage has been detected and the company will continue its ongoing consultations with local landowners.