Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) has been gaining adoption within the mining industry for managing surplus water volumes and reducing the groundwater impacts of dewatering. This paper reviews MAR for mining and includes an inventory of 27 mines using or considering MAR for current or future operations. Most mines using MAR are in arid or semi-arid regions and are implementing it through infiltration basins or bore injection to manage surplus water, preserve aquifers for environmental or human benefit, or adhere to licensing that requires zero surface discharge. Surplus water volumes, hydrogeological conditions, and economics play a pivotal role in the feasibility of MAR for mining. Groundwater mounding, well clogging, and interaction between adjacent mines are common challenges. Mitigation strategies include predictive groundwater modeling, extensive monitoring programs, rotation of infiltration or injection facilities, physical and chemical treatments for clogging, and careful location for MAR facilities in relation to adjacent operations. Should water availability alternate between shortage and excess, injection bores may be used for supply, thus reducing costs and risks associated with drilling new wells. MAR, if applied strategically, also has the potential to accelerate groundwater recovery post-mine closure. The success of MAR for mining is emphasized by mines opting to increase MAR capacity alongside dewatering expansions, as well as prospective mines proposing MAR for future water requirements. Upfront planning is the key to maximizing MAR benefits. Improved information sharing could help increase awareness and uptake of MAR as an effective and sustainable mine water management tool.
- Managed aquifer recharge (MAR)