As part of the Tropicana feasibility work, assessments were commissioned on potential greenhouse gas emissions, impacts of the project on the local air quality, and the potential effects of water and wind erosion.
The existing air quality in the vicinity of the operational area is associated with that of a rural arid environment.
It is recognised that wastewater can have an impact on the environment and poses a risk to humans when poorly managed. As a result, the TJV has designed and installed wastewater treatment facilities that comply with all applicable regulations, building requirements and standards.
Grey water re-use systems and disposal options such as sub-surface irrigation and evaporation ponds have been a key feature.
As part of the Works Approval Application the TJV provided the then Department of Environment and Conservation with full details of the wastewater treatment system, including pipeline locations, management strategies for nutrients, weeds, surplus waste water and bio-solids disposal along with monitoring programs.
The non-recyclable waste generated onsite will be buried and covered in accordance with Environmental Protection (Rural Landfill) Regulations 2002.
Dust management strategies are outlined in the Construction Environmental Management Strategy and the Operation Environmental Strategy. However, dust monitoring will include both personnel monitoring for potential exposure and the installation of mechanical dust monitoring stations on the premises boundary and at the village.
The objectives at Tropicana for the management of soils and landforms are to maintain the integrity, ecological functions and environmental values of the soil and natural and reconstructed landforms.
Following the removal of vegetation over the infrastructure footprint, the topsoil/sand medium will be removed, stockpiled and managed in such a way as to minimise dust production, erosion, sedimentation of adjacent areas and limit degradation of the soil’s propagation ability. The topsoil/sand medium will be primarily used in the rehabilitation of the site, both as source of cover and a source of propagation for revegetation.
In terms of groundwater, the TJV anticipates there will be no significant impact on either the terrestrial ecosystem or the human use of freshwater gnammas and waterholes due to drawdown impacts at the mining area of the water supply borefield. This is primarily due to the hypersaline nature of the aquifers being targeted for dewatering (at the mining area) and water production (at the borefield).
Observation bores will be installed across the site to monitor the effects of dewatering on the water levels outside the Mining Area. Sand dunes adjacent to the dewatering operation will also be monitored for water retention levels.
At completion of mining operations all pit dewatering will cease and water levels in remaining voids will gradually rebound and stabilise within 50 to 100 years at a depth of around 170m above the base of the pit at Havana (about 250m below surface) and around 110m above the base of the pit at Tropicana (about 150m below surface).