Sustainable Waste Water Management for the Energy and Mining Industries
Sustainable Waste Water Management for the Energy and Mining Industries

Sustainable Waste Water Management for the Energy and Mining Industries

Areas of Study: Environment and Community

Qualifies for CMS

Qualifies for Certification

This course provides a basic knowledge and understanding of water management tools and strategies related to coal bed methane water, LNG water, oil shale water, coal mining, natural gas extraction, hydrocarbons, metallurgical ore processing, and underground coal gasification.


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  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 9 hours

Course Summary


Regardless of world market conditions, to win, sustain, and maintain the right to mine is all about sustainability. Waste water management is emerging as the pre-eminent sustainability issue within the global energy and mining resource industries, i.e. related to the following activities: coal bed methane water (CBMw), LNG waste water, oil shale water, coal mining, open pit and underground mining, natural gas extraction, hydrocarbons, metallurgical ore processing, surface and underground earthworks and drainage, and underground coal gasification.

This waste water management course has been designed to educate people from the mining, metallurgical, oil, and gas sectors who have to manage waste water issues associated with their day to day activities. This course will equip them with a basic knowledge and understanding of water management tools and strategies, including knowledge of the common terms associated with the water treatment industry. The course does not replace professional advice; however, it does allow informed discussions with professionals.

Traditionally, waste water management is encountered in most energy resource extraction, mining, and ore processing activities. All of these industries are facing increasing scrutiny, regulation, competition for land access, and "angst" from local landholders (farmers) and stakeholders (agricultural and urban development). These crucial stakeholders have the perception of their water resource being potentially polluted, and/or reduced in available volume by the resource industry unless proved otherwise. They are concerned about sustainability, potential pollution issues, and access to the water resource itself.

Water is the principal vehicle by which potential pollutants in untreated wastewater can be carried from these industries to local habitats potentially impacting on the local surface areas, the local environment, and underground aquifers—especially where this water is accessed and applied through traditional practices such as irrigation. In extreme cases, the polluted water could impact on human life itself.

So, in order to demonstrate responsible stewardship over the water resource being extracted, this course gives a practical framework in order to create a robust sustainable water management solution (plan) that has the components of assessing the:

  • raw waste water quality;
  • final stage target water quality;
  • potential beneficial uses for the water;
  • treatment options to achieve the targets outlined above; and
  • a risk assessment process that avoids harm to the environment while realising long-term sustainable benefits.

Course Content

The course comprises 13 learning sessions, each of average 30 to 60 minutes duration, supported by figures, tables, appendices, and worked examples, plus six interactive reviews that confirm the viewer's achievement of learning objectives. The total duration of the course is approximately 9 hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize the terminology associated with water assessment, water quality, soils, and irrigation.
  • Identify the basic water treatment options available such as filtration, reverse osmosis, and brine management.
  • Recognize the waste water quality and treatment terms used to qualify waste water and treatment options.
  • Identify how untreated waste water can impact essential plant cell soil nutrient processes and water uptake processes.
  • Use your knowledge of waste water and soil water parameters to development of sustainable solutions.
  • Use practical field methodology to identification of soils and preparation of a waste water management plan.
  • Recognize the potential beneficial use options for using treated waste water and brine.
  • Identify the factors that need to be considered when using treated waste water for irrigation and other beneficial uses.

Recommended Background

  • A basic understanding of water needs, treatment, and environmental issues associated with the energy and mineral resource industries.

Ralph Gunness

Ralph Gunness is a Resource Industry Executive Project Manager (more than 35 years) and Director (more than 20 years) with an engineering and science background. He has experience in "on-site" and "remote" management of mining, gas and oil projects throughout the "resource sector life cycle", such as: confidential purchase audits; project scoping studies; basis of design planning; front end engineering & design (FEED); engineering; procurement and construction (EPC); commissioning; operations; decommissioning; deconstruction and rehabilitation.

He is responsible for direct team management, oversight and delivers "on-site" training directly related to several world class upstream & downstream gas field development and operations, from exploration to development of gas fields; pipelines; compression plants; power stations and LNG plants and recently the decommissioning and rehabilitation of Power Stations. Previously, he was an Environmental General Manager across 15 coal mining and several metallurgical processing operations.

Along the way, Ralph has received the Australian Prime Minister's, "2007 Environmentalist of the Year" finalist award. He also received two other environmental finalist awards in the eco-innovation and wastewater treatment categories. He received two awards for innovative Coal Mine Rehabilitation. Ralph was presented with an award from the U.N. for his work in implementing sustainable project management and assessment in the resource industries.

Ralph has degrees in Business Management, Environmental Studies, Training, Science & Agricultural Science. He has written and presented many papers and training courses associated with the mining, power and energy, petroleum and gas industries. He is an accredited auditor.

MBA, Postgrad Dip Env Studies, Dip Ed, Dip App Sc Agr, Cert IV Training and numerous Industry certifications.