This study focuses on the Etili and Comakli open-pit coal mines, where mine lakes are most densely located within the Can Coal Basin (northwestern Turkey). The aim of our study was to create 3D terrain models of these mine lakes using high-resolution images from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and to quantify areal changes linked to anthropogenic and meteorological effects over the study period. In November 2014 and October 2015, a DJI F550 hexacopter was flown at elevations of 30-100 m, and images were acquired using a 12-megapixel camera. Nineteen flights were completed, with each flight acquiring between 109 and 554 images. 3D modeling of UAV images was carried out with Agisoft software, using the most common structure from motion algorithm. Its workflow, involving image matching, georeferencing, digital elevation modeling, orthomosaics, 3D point cloud, and 3D textured model creation, was used to generate our 3D terrain model for the mine lakes. Orthomosaics with 1-6 cm/pixel resolution were used to assess areal change in the mine lakes. Area was calculated using two different methods (digitization and classification) within the ArcGIS package; results of these two methods were compared. Our UAV study of open-pit mines rapidly and precisely determined changes in topography linked to anthropogenic and meteorological effects. It also proved to be an effective method of visualizing such effects over the short term.