Ms. Duthe has more than 25 years of experience in conducting hydrogeologic investigations, including mine dewatering, water supply, contamination and remediation, integrated mine water management, Due Diligence, NI43101, and JORC reporting at all study levels from scoping to design for mining projects throughout Africa.
The challenges of mining economically have never been greater than under current global financial conditions. The costs and efficiency of dewatering are particularly important at De Beers Canada’s Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario where:
The hydrogeology of the Victor mine area was characterized over three relatively short winter field seasons using packer tests, pumping tests, step-drawdown tests, and downhole logging (particularly production or “spinner” logs) to define the lateral and vertical variation in the hydraulic conductivity of the carbonate aquifer. Based on analysis of the resulting data, wells were designed and submersible pumps with variable frequency drives were installed.
Two 3-dimensional numerical groundwater flow models were constructed:
These models are used in tandem to direct design of the dewatering system, evaluate its effectiveness, and to predict long-term environmental effects.
In January 2009, seven dewatering wells were pumping at a combined rate of about 84,000 m3/day with the goal of maintaining water levels 15 m below the bottom of the pit. By January 2009, the ratio of m3 of water pumped to m3 of material excavated was about 9.8:1.
Atkinson, L.C., P.G. Keeping, and J.C. Wright. 2009. The economic challenges of dewatering at the Victor Diamond Mine in northern Ontario, Canada. Internation Mine Water Association Annual Meeting, Pretoria, South Africa, 19 - 23 October.
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