Modeling Groundwater Quantity and Quality at Mine Sites
For mining applications, groundwater modeling can aid in assessing impacts to water quantity and water quality, as a result of mining activities. Some examples include:
- regional water budget analysis – determining the available water supply
- environmental impact assessment of pumping/dewatering
- design and optimization of the dewatering well network
- contaminant transport modeling of tailings leachate
- design of a groundwater remediation system
For large open pit mines (e.g. ore mining in the Rockies), it is necessary to determine mine dewatering pump rates, and to understand mine slope stability during mine development. Often, the pore pressures/hydraulic heads from a MODFLOW are used as inputs for geotechnical models in order to estimate appropriate pit face geometry.
In the dewatering phase, it is important to determine how much drawdown will occur to surrounding water bodes (lakes, rivers) and also to private/public water supply wells as a result of dewatering. During the recovery/decomissioning phase, it is essential to estimate how high water levels will rise (pit lake recovery), and determine if contaminants from mine waste tailings will discharge to aquifers and surface water bodes, and assess various remedial scenarios in order to mitigate these risks.
Online References using Visual MODFLOW
Note: Waterloo Hydrogeologic does not imply endorsement of software from the authors of these publications/reports.