Water is an important aspect of all mining and quarrying developments and operations. All mines require a water supply and in addition water can impact on mining or conversely mining can impact the natural water environment. These issues are closely inter-related, and water management in mining environments requires an integrated approach in terms of the influence of water on the various mine elements, including dewatering systems, water supply, site drainage, processing and tailings disposal.
In arid areas the focus is on minimising waste and maximising re-use of water. In wetter areas the focus may be on providing storm water storage so that a zero discharge policy can be maintained, or treating process water for supply usage.
SRK has over 20 years of experience in all aspects of mine water management including:
- mine dewatering
- mine water supply
- acid rock drainage, prediction and control
- site drainage and storm water control
- water treatment
- environmental impact assessment
- licensing and permitting
- arterial land drainage and river diversions
- ground water recovery
This experience extends to mine and quarry sites around the world and ranges from complete feasibility studies through to design and construction supervision, and technical advice on operational problems.
SRK's background in all aspects of mining means that an integrated mine water management strategy can be developed as an aid to planning and decision making on all water issues.
To manage water on a mine site requires a dynamic and integrated approach within the whole mining area. In some cases, interaction between adjacent mining operations has to be considered.
SRK's approach is to consider:
- the impact of water on the mining project
- the impact of mining on the water environment
- the overall site and plant water balance
SRK works with developers and operators to develop and evaluate water management strategies, so that drainage, storage, treatment and discharge systems can be optimised and designed and integrated into the mine plan.
The focus is on waste minimisation and cost optimisation, whilst achieving environmental objectives, based on separation of clean and contaminated flows, combined with the re-use of water where appropriate. This is achieved by evaluating the mine site water and contaminant mass balance which is used as a tool to assess feasibility of various options and identify critical areas in the water management strategy.