Mining Operations Optimize Dewatering Processes

Dewatering ProcessesEffective water management is critical to both open-pit and sub-surface mining operations. Mine dewatering is an essential part of resource extraction, as it lowers the water table around the mine or quarry. Effectively managed dewatering processes typically employ continuous water level monitoring. Mine dewatering is usually undertaken for several reasons:
  • To ensure stability of mine walls during and after excavation—In open-pit mines, a water table that is too high can destabilize mine walls, haulage roads, and slopes. Water pressure reduces the stability of mine walls and can lead to sliding and collapse of materials in the slope. In underground mines, the inflow of water must be controlled to prevent flooding; however, a balance must be maintained so that groundwater levels are not needlessly depleted.
  • To optimize mine production and reduce operational costs—Effective dewatering operations create dry conditions so that low strength aquifer sequence materials (sands, gravel, and clays) can be safely excavated, reducing drilling and blasting costs. Additionally, wear and corrosion on equipment is minimized, and the possibility of pump burn out is reduced by accurately monitoring drawdown. Haulage costs for unsaturated excavated material is significantly less than for saturated materials, further reducing operational cost.