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Analysis of water removal parameters in mining sites

Analysis of water removal parameters in mining sites

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Published by Mäeinstituut
Doctoral School of Energy and Geotechnology, Pärnu, Estonia, 2010
Doctoral School of Energy and Geotechnology, Pärnu, Estonia, 2010

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Published by: Mäeinstituut on Feb 11, 2013
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International Symposium„Topical Problems in the Field of Electrical and Power Engineering“Pärnu, Estonia, January 11-16, 2010
Analysis of water removal parameters in mining sites
Karin Robam, Ingo ValgmaTallinn University of Technologykarin.robam@ttu.ee, ingo.valgma@ttu.ee 
The extraction of mineral resources below the groundwater level is related to water removal from surface and underground mines. In Estonia the typical drainage depth in a surface mine is 15m, amount of pumped water is 5-20 Mm
 and theextent of depression cone is 0,5-3 km. Water drainage is considered as the main process for keeping mining sites dry or suitable for mining. Depression cone and its impact radius have stronginfluence to the decision makers (Figure 1). Water collection systems, pumping stations and  sedimentation bonds are the main tools for water drainage.
Water flow measurements, drainage water, depressioncone, sedimentation pond, pump efficiency.
The quantity of drainage water depends on the amountof precipitation, surface water, soil water andgroundwater. In mines, the water level is regulated bypumping water to the sedimentation ponds, ditches orrivers by changing natural surface water balance.
Allthe water analysis parameters are closely related.Several measures can be taken for decreasing theamount of water level and for decreasing the extent of the depression cones.Measurements have shown good relations betweensealing and drainage materials and drainageparameters. Considerable saving can be made withimproving drainage methods and measurements.Measurements and analyses have been carried out bythe TUT Department of Mining in Kunda and othermining regions in Estonia.
Drainage water and water flowmeasurements
The amount of drainage water has been accounted inthe cycle of water pumps. It is not always correctbecause some water infiltrates back to the mining area.Measurements in Kunda region in Ubja oil shalesurface mine has been shown that almost quarter of drainage water infiltrates through the wall of thesedimentation pond back to the mining area. Examplemining company in Kunda region had to pumprepetitively the same water out of Ubja oil shalesurface mine to keep the mining site dry. Now, on theoutflow of the sedimentation pond to the natural waterbody there is installed a new system to measure theamount of drainage water. Drainage water flows outthrough the 600 mm reinforced concrete pipe. Waterlevel and water velocity inside the pipe are measuredby 4…20 mA /HART monitoring device [2]. Shape of current bed is needed to calculate the amount of pumped out water. Monitoring devise saves constantlythe amount of water measured in months and sums theresults at the end of the month. Pumped out water isleaded to the Toolse river. Accurate measurement withnew monitoring device helps to assess the exactamount of water and minimizes the cost of pumped outwater if the amount of inflow is high.Water flow measurements are the main possibility toassess the water infiltration back to the mining area.The comparison of water flow in stream bed andpumped out water accounted in the cycle of waterpumps gives the good perception of the infiltrationrate. During the water flow measurements the area of the river is divided into shares according to profile of river width. As a result of surveying distance from thebank, water depth, current meter depth to water leveland number of propeller rotations are measured andcross section of the flow is constructed. The streamflow for the profile is the sum of the average velocitiesof each subsection of stream flow times its cross-sectional area (Figure 1) [2]. As a result, flow inriverbed is found in every measured point togetherwith level, temperature and quality indicators.Comparing data of pumping rates and flow in differentriver parts shows share of mine water, amount of waterand its possible influence to the water quality.Measurements in Kunda region had shown that wateramount in Toolse river depends highly on pumping inUbja oil shale surface mine due to the fact that thestream bed is highly permeable and is practically drywithout pumping. The river collects its water duringprecipitation and from groundwater complexes (Figure2). Measurements show that pumping amount is equalor exceeds actual flow in river.
Figure 1 Water flow and water velocity measurement in riverbed 
Pumped out water from surface and undergroundmines are leaded to the sedimentation ponds and thento the ditches or rivers. Water analysis parameters areclosely related. Several measures can be taken fordecreasing the amount of water level and fordecreasing the extent of the depression cones.Measurements have shown good relations betweensealing and drainage materials and drainageparameters. Considerable saving can be made withimproving drainage methods and measurements.Water inflow and water drainage technology dependson geological and hydrogeological conditions of themineral deposit and the depth of mineral extraction. If the mineral extraction depth increases, then theamount of pumped out water will increase.Groundwater complexes fed primarily by precipitates.in spring (March-April) and in autumn (October-November). In general water arrays are movingtowards natural water reservoirs. This means that thepumped out water form the surface and undergroundmines adds only one stage to the natural watermovements.Similarly, the increase of production capacity isexpected to increase the quantity of pumped outdrainage water, because the amount of water will beincrease in surface and underground mines during theopening of the water abundant array.In addition, groundwater inflow from suspended andclosed underground mines impact mining in surfacemines. Suspended and abandoned mines have beenfulfilled with groundwater, therefore groundwaterlevel has been arisen to the level before miningactivity, it is in higher level than in working surfaceand underground mines.
Drainage system
A surface mine drainage system consists of pumpingsystem, pipes, water collecting system, sedimentationpond, channels and natural water bodies (rivers,ditches etc).Sedimentation pond is situated on the lowest site insurface mine where is set up a pumping system.Efficiency and the lift height of pumps are related tothe parameters and water inflow to the mines. If theparameters of the surface and underground mines arebigger and the hydraulic conductivity andtransmissibility of mineral resource is higher, then theamount of pumped out water will be also higher. Oneopportunity to determine value of the hydraulicconductivity to decrease water inflow to the mine is touse free software Edumine (Figure 3, Figure 4). Themain parameters of pumping system are efficiency, thenumber of pumps and lifting height of pumps. Thenumber of pumps depends on the size of the mine.Usually there is four pumps in mine, two pumps areworking continuously, one is for backup (Figure 7).Ubja oil shale surface mine pumping system consistsof four centrifugal pumps, efficiency of three pumpsare 250 m³/h and one is 360 m³/h (Figure 5, Figure 7).
Centrifugal pumps are probably the most popularpump type in mining. The basic components of acentrifugal pump are an inlet, the eye of the rotatingimpeller, curved impeller vanes, volute, and
dischargeconnection (Figure 6). A centrifugal pump is a simpledevice with the only moving part being the impellerwhich is attached to the shaft of a motor or engine.Assuming that the suction pipe and pump housing isfilled with water to the level of the eye as the impellersrotate, a partial vacuum is created that allowsatmospheric pressure to lift more water into the pump
housing. The water which entered the inlet opening atthe eye of the impeller is set in rotation by theimpeller and creates centrifugal force resulting inpressure at the outer perimeter of the impeller. Watermoves outward from the impeller at a high velocityand pressure into an expanding volute and isdischarged. A single-stage centrifugal pump, that is, asingle impeller, usually operates against low tomoderate heads [4].
Figure 2 The formation of depression cone
Figure 3 Hydraulic conductivity determination with Edumine softwareFigure 4 Determination of steady-state head measured along flow path with Edumine software 

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