Document Type : Review Paper


1 CSIR - Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR)

2 Vice President (Environment), Reliance Power Limited, Noida, India

3 CSIR- Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR)


Theoretical review of ‘mining pit lakes’ indicates that like natural lakes such lakes display a huge diversity. They are typically in a non-equilibrium state with respect to their surroundings. Hence, at the decommissioning phase of mining operation a detailed technical study are required on different aspects of such created water bodies considering its morphometry, geology, hydrology, water quality (geo-chemistry), rate of filling, and biology.

Pit lakes has their value as resources for miscellaneous purposes e.g. recreation, fisheries, water supply, and wildlife habitat which is dependent mostly on their topography, location water use and safety characteristics. Internationally, pit lakes as self sustaining aquatic ecosystems have been developed in the past e.g. Alberata Pit Lake in Canada [1, 2] ; Sleeper pit lake [3] and Westfield pit lake, Scotland [4]. In Indian mining industry neither scientific studies nor case record of mining pit lake development are available because ‘closure plans’ are introduced recently. One such attempt in India at Kerendari coal mine in Jharkhand state is a laudable and new attempt which is at the stage of planning.

In brief, since the opportunities for development of ‘mining pit lakes’ are immense and company owning it can nurture their ecological and commercial benefits appropriately, this review will be practically useful particularly in those countries which has less number of age old surface mines heading towards the decommissioning phase. The review done here can be practically utilized for evaluation, assessment, new project clearances and statuary compliance purposes.