Looking after the environment around the Western Dumps

Our CSR team has been busy collecting environmental data in preparation for the commencement of leaching of the Kounrad Western Dumps in 2017.

The area where leaching will commence has been defined and, adjacent to this area, detailed geological and hydrogeological site investigations and drilling programmes have been undertaken since 2013. This has enabled us to develop hydrogeological computer models to ensure baseline environmental conditions and potential risks and impacts are understood before leaching commences.

Site investigations undertaken by our in-house technical team in conjunction with both local and leading international consultants, including JH Groundwater and SRK Consulting, are:

  • Surface geophysics;
  • Hydrogeological drilling of 46 boreholes and testing to further define ground water conditions;
  • Core drilling to determine in more detail the geological strata;
  • Extensive programme of 76 trial pits excavated;
  • 60 infiltration and soakaway tests;
  • Comprehensive soil, groundwater and air monitoring, control and sampling;
  • Geochemical and geotechnical analysis of core samples to determine properties of the host rock beneath and downgradient of the dumps.

The above field investigations have been used to inform and develop a detailed hydrogeological risk assessment of the area in question. Importantly alongside these investigations a detailed programme of both internal and external environmental monitoring and control has been developed which will continue throughout and beyond the period of leaching. Central to this programme we will:

  • Adhere to the strict monitoring and reporting requirements in Kazakhstan with regular analysis of the atmosphere, soils and groundwater;
  • Ensure external analysis of groundwater is undertaken by accredited independent laboratories;
  • Regularly analyse groundwater in the vicinity of the initial area of leaching;
  • Support SRK Consulting in conducting a detailed hydrogeological risk assessment model for the remainder of the Western Dumps.
Nick Shirley, CSR Director
CSR Director, Nick Shirley said “While we are fortunate in the low permeability bedrock that underlays our dumps at Kounrad, we do not take this for granted. Indeed, the CSR team devotes much of its time ensuring that we look after and effectively monitor the environment. To date, we have had a good track record in this regard and are keen for this to continue as production expands into the Western Dumps.”

Image Gallery

CAML’s in-house Comacchio drilling rig specifically purchased for the drilling of geological and hydrogeological core drilling
CAML’s in-house Comacchio drilling rig specifically purchased for the drilling of geological and hydrogeological core drilling
Measurement of meteorological parameters such as evaporation rates as well air quality to ensure the project conforms with the appropriate environmental regulatory standards
Measurement of meteorological parameters such as evaporation rates as well as air quality to ensure the project conforms with the appropriate environmental regulatory standards
The monitoring and control of surface waters to ensure there is zero discharge into the environment from the leaching operation
The monitoring and control of surface waters to ensure there is zero discharge into the environment from the leaching operation
Groundwater quality sampling (in-excess of 300 boreholes to be drilled and monitored by mid 2017)
Groundwater quality sampling (in-excess of 300 boreholes to be drilled and monitored by mid 2017)
Regular measurement of groundwater levels to determine groundwater flow direction and inform the conceptual and numerical groundwater models
Regular measurement of groundwater levels to determine groundwater flow direction and inform the conceptual and numerical groundwater models