Open Cut

Using an Ecotoxicological Approach to Validate the DGT Technique for the Measurement of Bioavailable Metal Concentrations

Open Cut » Environment

Published: February 19Project Number: C26027

Get ReportAuthor: Trang Huynh, Ceiwen Peace, Shelley Templemen, Dustin Hobbs, Andrew Harford, Sue Vink, Ross Smith | Hydrobiology Qld, Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist , James Cook University & University of Queensland

This project builds on the opportunity identified through Project C23037, which showed that the Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT) technique may be appropriate for assessing bioavailable metal concentrations in streams of the Fitzroy River Basin (FRB). The Project C23037 conducted a trial using DGT to measure metals in water of FRB streams that receive coal mine water discharge. The results of that project showed that the fractions of these metals measured by the DGT technique were significantly lower than dissolved metal concentrations and were varied among elements.

The DGT unit facilitates metal speciation measurements by two ways (1) the diffusive hydrogel and filter membrane control the compounds that can diffuse sufficiently rapidly to contribute appreciably to the accumulated amount of metal (2) the thickness of the diffusion and resin layers can discriminate the measurable species by limiting the time available for dissociation of metal complexes. As the DGT was designed with a diffusive layer that 'mimics' biological membrane uptake, it has been suggested that the DGT could provide a measure of the bioavailable fraction of metals, which is more likely to represent the metal fraction that would be potentially related to ecotoxicity.

This project investigated whether Cu and Ni measured by DGT are equivalent to the bioavailable concentration of Cu and Ni that causes toxicity to two local tests species, a tropical alga (Chlorella sp.) and a temperate zooplankton (Ceriodaphnia cf. dubia). The anticipated application of the outcome of this study would be to develop more realistic tools to monitor and assess environmental risks to the aquatic ecosystem in river receiving mine water discharges through a more accurate measurement of the bioavailable fraction of metal contaminants.

The findings of this research demonstrated that DGT can be used as a conservative tool to monitor bioavailable Cu and Ni in mine related water with lower cost than laboratory measurement of the bioavailable fractions. This study has provided important additional information regarding the applicability of the DGT technique for monitoring bioavailable Cu and Ni concentrations.

Monitoring of river waters receiving controlled released water can be implemented by using DGT samplers to conservatively monitor the resulting bioavailable Cu and Ni fractions, while integrating metal concentrations over the deployment period. This provides a substantial benefit over grab samples, which may miss pulses of dissolved metals due to timing of sample collection among other factors. Ease of deployment and the relatively low installation cost of DGT samplers, they can be deployed at multiple depths and locations to provide an integrative monitor of the risk of metal pollution in a waterbody.

This work has shown that the DGT technique can provide a conservative estimate of bioavailable Cu and Ni concentrations. The effect of DOC on the DGT measurement could be potentially minimised by using of longer deployment times. However, further investigation on a suitable deployment time that could minimize the effect of DOC on the DGT measurement is required to establish the extent of such effects for a range of realistic conditions. This will improve the estimation of bioavailable metal concentrations in FRB waterways.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C27039True Triaxial Strength Of Coal Measure Rocks And Its Impact On Roadway Stability And Coal Burst Assessment

Rocks in the ground are subject to a range of stresses. The stresses...

C3063Underground Vehicle Design Standards And Statutory Implications

The Australian underground diesel vehicle fleet has evolved since di...

C3064Conveyor Belting And Lagging Shear Characteristics - Drive Drum Slip

The primary aim of this project was to investigate the relationsh...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C29021Assessing The Impact Of Consecutive Night Shifts On Night-Time Alertness, Daytime Sleep And Timing Of The Circadian System

In the Australian coal mining industry, most guidelines for managing...

C33037Quantifying Recharge To Groundwater Systems In The NSW Coalfields (Sydney, Gunnedah And Gloucester Basins)

The purpose of this project was to estimate the rate of diffuse rec...

C26029Geological Controls On Fluorine And Phosphorus In Bowen Basin Coals

Increasing global restrictions on fluorine in product coal prompted ...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27064Dry Beneficiation Using FGX And X-Ray Sorters

Conventional dry processing methods engage a single beneficiation de...

C26010Multi-Sloped Screening Efficiency With Changing Strokes, Frequencies, Feed Solids And Feed Rates-Pilot Plant Study

Optimising multi-sloped screens is often described as an art and the...

C28059Impact Of Water Quality In Coal Handling And Preparations Plants

The objective of this project was to deliver a concise reference do...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C27054Optimisation Of A Thermal Flow Reversal Reactor For Ventilation Air Methane Mitigation

Ventilation air methane (VAM) generally accounts for 50-85% of the t...

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook