Mine Water Management

Issue: 
#46
Poor mine water management is costly in lost production and environmental remediation, avoided with SRK's integrated approach.
Mining personnel have a different interpretation of the term “mine water management”. For the rock mechanics engineer it is the de-pressurisation of a slope in an open pit, for the metallurgist it might pertain to the water contained in the process circuit, and for the tailings engineer, the waste circuit...
SRK designs program to maintain slope stability and drainage in Ok Tedi copper-gold mine.
The Ok Tedi copper-gold mine in Papua, New Guinea is situated within a seismically active, mountainous region of extremely high rainfall. The current open pit is transected by several large faults, and the rock mass conditions are complex. Material permeabilities are variable, with considerable contrast within the major rock types...
To decrease costs and cause minimal environmental impact, SRK recommends using exploration and geotechnical boreholes for hydrogeological purposes.
A good understanding of mine water management issues related to underground and open pit mines depends on collecting a comprehensive hydrogeological data set. Data collection is the most time-consuming and costly stage since it requires gathering substantial amounts of long-term seasonal data. With this data available, a conceptual model can...
Studies by Lumsden and Schulze show climate change is going to make the eastern parts of SA significantly wetter, and western regions drier.
Research done in South Africa shows that change in the global climate is affecting the way local mines need to plan and build their infrastructure, particularly when it comes to water management. Studies by Lumsden and Schulze show climate change is going to make the eastern parts of SA significantly...
A water balance model is commonly used in the mining industry to monitor and manage the distribution of water within a mine; however, it is also vital to keep an eye on levels of salt in on-site water, especially as mine water is increasingly re-circulated in the interests of conservation...
Water control design for Westen Australia iron mine considers groundwater, dewatering, and risk assessment.
The design of a mine water control system depends on many factors including: • hydrogeological conditions • dewatering or depressurisation requirements • start, duration and rates of pumping at different stages of mining • interaction of pumping infrastructure with mine planning and operations • availability of drilling and pumping equipment...
SRK collects 3D data to estimate requirements for dewatering Canadian uranium mine.
Predicting the volume and quality of groundwater inflows to a mine requires 3D characterisation of the hydrogeology in and around the mine site. Full characterisation requires not only transmissivity, or measurment of the ability of rocks bordering the mine to transmit force and water pressure, but separate values of horizontal...
Mineral resources are often associated with complex geologic regimes that present challenges for conceptual thought, investigatory methods, data analysis, and numerical modelling. Geologic terrains that contain varied materials, mineralogic alteration, significant structure, hydrothermal activity, permafrost, and subsurface gas present challenging environments for a hydrogeologist. In many instances, traditional hydrogeologic field...
SRK proposes mitigation measures to counter effect of quarry deepening on groundwater users.
A rise in demand for cement in South Africa led Pretoria Portland Cement to commission an ElA in 2007 to investigate the impacts of expanding one of its main limestone quarries. The quarry is located about 100km northeast of Cape Town, South Africa. SRK’s Cape Town Groundwater Department, led by...
Groundwater flow in the vicinity of open pits and underground mines varies 3-dimensionally and with time. Assessing mine dewatering commonly requires the development of 3-dimensional (3D) numerical groundwater models, based on 3D geological, structural, and hydrogeological data, to fully characterise the groundwater flow. SRK often applies the finite-difference code Visual...
Evaluating hydrogeological environments early in exploration provides invaluable information with significant cost benefits.
The requirement to conduct a mine water assessment in the exploration to early feasibility stage usually has a dual purpose: focusing on initial engineering assessments (dewatering, mine stability, water supply, overall water balance) and on environmental and social aspects, typically in the form of an ESIA baseline study. To meet...
SRK developed underground mine water management plan to control saline groundwater inflow under permafrost conditions.
Mine water management in the Canadian Arctic involves a unique combination of technical challenges as a function of the geographical and geologic setting. Characterisation and planning for underground mine groundwater inflow management requires a thorough understanding of northern hydrogeology, as well as thermal effects, water quality and logistical challenges. The...
SRK supports mine water management in Brazil, manging large amounts of water in small site, tackling high sedimentation, and protecting nearby streams.
Beadell Resources Limited appointed SRK to prepare a feasibility study of the Tucano project located in the north of Brazil, in Amapá State, where the mean annual precipitation is approximately 2.4 metres. The feasibility study included surface water management for the pits (Taperebá AB, Taperebá C, Taperebá D and Urucum)...
In arid Middle East, mine water management requires innovate solutions to prevent over-use at an affordable price.
SRK has had extensive experience working on mine water supply projects in Middle Eastern countries, particularly in Saudi Arabia. The climate in this part of the world is mostly arid with very limited rainfall, runoff and recharge. It follows that one of the major challenges mines face is guaranteeing a...
SRK's study of water inflows at Questa molybdenum mine minimized impact on operations while collecting comprehensive data.
Developing a water balance for an underground mining operation can require a variety of measurement techniques to deal with the following challenges: • Operational efficiency may result in mixing water sources that must be characterised separately to develop a detailed water balance • Combining all waters in mine discharge may...
SRK develops plan to locate water inflow from unplugged boreholes and to de-acidify the remaining water.
This article describes 1) methods of locating abandoned boreholes within a side hill pit, and 2) the design and operation of in-line pH adjustment facilities for low-pH pit water. Historic exploration boreholes in the base of Pit 1 at the Tonkin Springs Mine in central Nevada intercepted confined groundwater at...
A FIFA requirement for South Africa to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup was that host cities assure adequate and safe water supply for the event and visitors. This requirement was in line with that of many municipalities in the United States to develop a Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP)...
Integration of geotechnical and hydrogeological testing in open pit feasibility study allows identification fracture zones that affect development.
In hard rock mining environments, groundwater flow along fractures dominates. In order to understand the nature of fractures, and particularly those that are continuous and inter-connected within a wider fracture network, SRK employs specialist field investigation techniques. The opportunity to design and undertake such investigations within an integrated program of...
SRK manages open pit mine dewatering at Grib mine in Russia, including preventing saline groundwater from affecting nearby streams.
SRK works with clients to develop effective strategies for managing surface and groundwater in open pit mines. SRK recently completed a bankable level feasibility study for the Grib Diamond Mine in Northern Russia where many of the issues associated with controlling water in the open pit environment can occur. The...
SRK Consulting has extensive experience with monitoring and controlling Acid Mine Drainage.
Sulfide bearing rocks in waste dumps, spent copper heap leach piles, ore stock piles, pit walls, coal spoil and dewatered tailings storage facilities can be long-term sources of water contamination. Sulfides, when exposed to oxygen and water, oxidise to produce sulfates and acid. Under acid conditions a wide range of...
SRK Chile has recently participated in defining the water base line required by the EIA to obtain an environmental permit for the Riesco Island coal project, and in other water-related works. Riesco Island is located 60 kilometers northwest of Punta Arenas in Region XII of Magallanes. The project involves a...
Supplying water to high-altitude mining projects in Chile requires identifying and understanding hydrogeologically complex aquifers.
Large mining projects, currently being developed in Chile’s northern region, are generally located in the Andes Mountains at altitudes of 3000+ meters above sea level. Possible sources of water supply for mining are the mountain aquifers and sea water. Due to Chile’s geographic configuration, using sea water is always feasible,...
SRK uses GoldSim modelling software to develop preliminary mine water management plan for Indonesian coal project.
SRK is carrying out a major water management study for a confidential client that is currently developing several coal contracts extending 150 km in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Our services cover water monitoring, supply, drainage, storage, diversion, discharge and closure planning over the life of the project and address design, costing and...
South Africa’s National Water Act of 1998 has highlighted the need to conserve its valuable resource in this water-scarce country. It lays down strict regulations on the discharge of contaminated water into the environment. For the mining sector, the Act has required more effective control of stormwater – one of...
As impact of sulfates on water quality is increasingly regulated, SRK recommends mitigating the problem at mine planning.
Sulfate is becoming more of a water quality problem for mining companies. Regulations governing sulfate concentrations have been flexible, and the unstated mitigation measure is often dilution of sulfate downstream. Federal water quality guidance in the United States characterises sulfate as a secondary contaminant with a maximum concentration of 250mg/l...
Integrating mine water management into all phases of mine design and life ensures water-related challenges are identified and mitigated early.
The success or failure of a mining project is often linked to site water management, or the lack of it. Risks to a project’s success include tailings dam failures during storm events, slope failures related to elevated pore pressures, water in blast holes leading to inefficient blasting (adding costs and...
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