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This paper presents an evaluation of the historic and post-closure water chemistry data for a closed mine in
northern Australia, with a wet-dry climatic cycle. Lessons learned from such studies can be useful for future
mine closure planning in similar climatic conditions. There is a distinctive grouping of the samples based on
major and trace element chemistry. Background locations in the nearby creek with higher calcium and
magnesium concentrations present one end member, while tailings run-off with high sulphate beryllium,
copper, manganese, nickel, lead, zinc, arsenic and cobalt concentrations presents another. Waste rock dump
seepages have low sulphate and heavy metals. Surface drainage from the pit area has low electrical
conductivity, sulphate and heavy metals. Rare earth elements proved to be potentially useful for mine water
fingerprinting. The long-term trends of concentrations show a significant reduction of sulphate and heavy
metals since mine closure, and an onset of rehabilitation, which is also shown in the reduction of calculated
metal loads. Solute loads, compared to the 2005-2006 wet season, as a benchmark, are suggested as a better
indicator for monitoring the success of rehabilitation.
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