Mine dewatering is a complex task, but with DHI’s innovative solutions, you can keep costs down while maintaining efficiency in your operation. To help clients cut dewatering costs, DHI uses methods such as:
Optimizing well placement and pumping rates
Linking catchment hydrology to the dewatering system design
Explicit incorporation of highly detailed geologic, alteration and structural models into FEFLOW models, which play a crucial role in controlling pore pressure dissipation and mine inflows
Synchronizing the dewatering program to mine planning and production through the incorporation of real-time operational management tools in MIKE MINE
SITE-WIDE AND CATCHMENT SCALE WATER BALANCES
DHI uses advanced numerical tools to develop both deterministic and probabilistic mine water balances. This combined approach helps to improve water management from the early planning and design phase through operations and ultimately closure. In addition, mine managers need to plan, design, and assess water management activities (e.g. dewatering, water disposal, and ﬂood management) that reach well beyond the mine boundary. The impacts are spatial, long term, and complex—and may be cumulative across multiple mine sites.
Proactively managing water quantity and quality requires an understanding of the hydrology and hydrogeology at the catchment or regional scale. DHI is an international leader in catchment scale modeling and has helped mining companies identify, evaluate, and respond to catchment scale water-related risks and opportunities.
Using tools such as MIKE SHE and innovative model couplings, DHI accounts for various operational strategies and the interactions between surface water, groundwater, and catchment hydrology. Decision makers can then develop management strategies for surface water and groundwater – both on the mine site and in the regional catchment.
TAILINGS AND CLOSURE
There are intricate factors that go into planning the closure of a mining operation. For example, treatment and remediation planning depends on long-term interaction between re-established vegetation, soils, rainfall and evapotranspiration. Closure planning for pit lakes and the re-establishment of native flora depends on groundwater and surface water interactions. Lastly, tailings disposal, clean up, and reclamation is costly and complex—especially in hydrologically unique settings and extreme climates.
DHI works closely with mining companies to evaluate the impacts of multiple stressors and create a framework for detailed planning and design, using approaches such as:
- High-resolution tailings pore pressure modeling using FEFLOW
- Incorporating hydrodynamical coupled processes to capture the transient nature of the tailings materials properties
- Non-Newtonian tailings runout analyses to better understand facility risks
Such a complex task requires comprehensive understanding of water-related risks. With DHI’s innovative tools and expertise, mining companies can minimize the impact of closure and improve tailings stewardship.
MINE WATER SUPPLY
DHI’s water experts have been involved with high-yield and high-profile groundwater exploration projects for mines. We use our knowledge of hydrologic systems to optimize mine water supply approaches and minimize costs and water footprints. For example, Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) approaches are generally underutilized by the mining industry and represent possibilities to improve the reliability of the supply, minimize evaporative losses, and decrease capital costs.
BRINE RESOURCE EVALUATION
DHI is a leader in supporting lithium companies quantify Mineral Resource Estimate for Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (“LCE”), at the Measured, Indicated, and Inferred level categories in compliance with Canadian National Instrument (NI) 43-101. Geostatistical modeling and numerical groundwater flow, transport, and variable density models are used to support this process. DHI has also developed proprietary methods to optimize wellfield configurations and lithium recovery to further minimize environmental footprints.