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Analysis of water removal parameters in mining sites
Karin Robam, Ingo Valgma Tallinn University of Technology email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Mm3/year and the extent 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 strong influence 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, depression cone, sedimentation pond, pump efficiency.
drainage water infiltrates through the wall of the sedimentation pond back to the mining area. Example mining company in Kunda region had to pump repetitively the same water out of Ubja oil shale surface mine to keep the mining site dry. Now, on the outflow of the sedimentation pond to the natural water body there is installed a new system to measure the amount of drainage water. Drainage water flows out through the 600 mm reinforced concrete pipe. Water level and water velocity inside the pipe are measured by 4…20 mA /HART monitoring device . Shape of current bed is needed to calculate the amount of pumped out water. Monitoring devise saves constantly the amount of water measured in months and sums the results at the end of the month. Pumped out water is leaded to the Toolse river. Accurate measurement with new monitoring device helps to assess the exact amount of water and minimizes the cost of pumped out water if the amount of inflow is high. Water flow measurements are the main possibility to assess the water infiltration back to the mining area. The comparison of water flow in stream bed and pumped out water accounted in the cycle of water pumps gives the good perception of the infiltration rate. 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 the bank, water depth, current meter depth to water level and number of propeller rotations are measured and cross section of the flow is constructed. The stream flow for the profile is the sum of the average velocities of each subsection of stream flow times its crosssectional area (Figure 1) . As a result, flow in riverbed is found in every measured point together with level, temperature and quality indicators. Comparing data of pumping rates and flow in different river parts shows share of mine water, amount of water and its possible influence to the water quality. Measurements in Kunda region had shown that water amount in Toolse river depends highly on pumping in Ubja oil shale surface mine due to the fact that the stream bed is highly permeable and is practically dry without pumping. The river collects its water during precipitation and from groundwater complexes (Figure 2). Measurements show that pumping amount is equal or exceeds actual flow in river.
The quantity of drainage water depends on the amount of precipitation, surface water, soil water and groundwater. In mines, the water level is regulated by pumping water to the sedimentation ponds, ditches or rivers by changing natural surface water balance. All the water analysis parameters are closely related. Several measures can be taken for decreasing the amount of water level and for decreasing the extent of the depression cones. Measurements have shown good relations between sealing and drainage materials and drainage parameters. Considerable saving can be made with improving drainage methods and measurements. Measurements and analyses have been carried out by the TUT Department of Mining in Kunda and other mining regions in Estonia.
1. Drainage water and water flow measurements
The amount of drainage water has been accounted in the cycle of water pumps. It is not always correct because some water infiltrates back to the mining area. Measurements in Kunda region in Ubja oil shale surface mine has been shown that almost quarter of
Figure 1 Water flow and water velocity measurement in riverbed Pumped out water from surface and underground mines are leaded to the sedimentation ponds and then to the ditches or rivers. Water analysis parameters are closely related. Several measures can be taken for decreasing the amount of water level and for decreasing the extent of the depression cones. Measurements have shown good relations between sealing and drainage materials and drainage parameters. Considerable saving can be made with improving drainage methods and measurements. Water inflow and water drainage technology depends on geological and hydrogeological conditions of the mineral deposit and the depth of mineral extraction. If the mineral extraction depth increases, then the amount of pumped out water will increase. Groundwater complexes fed primarily by precipitates. in spring (March-April) and in autumn (OctoberNovember). In general water arrays are moving towards natural water reservoirs. This means that the pumped out water form the surface and underground mines adds only one stage to the natural water movements. Similarly, the increase of production capacity is expected to increase the quantity of pumped out drainage water, because the amount of water will be increase in surface and underground mines during the opening of the water abundant array. In addition, groundwater inflow from suspended and closed underground mines impact mining in surface mines. Suspended and abandoned mines have been fulfilled with groundwater, therefore groundwater level has been arisen to the level before mining activity, it is in higher level than in working surface and underground mines.
2. Drainage system
A surface mine drainage system consists of pumping system, pipes, water collecting system, sedimentation pond, channels and natural water bodies (rivers, ditches etc). Sedimentation pond is situated on the lowest site in surface mine where is set up a pumping system. Efficiency and the lift height of pumps are related to the parameters and water inflow to the mines. If the parameters of the surface and underground mines are bigger and the hydraulic conductivity and transmissibility of mineral resource is higher, then the amount of pumped out water will be also higher. One opportunity to determine value of the hydraulic conductivity to decrease water inflow to the mine is to use free software Edumine (Figure 3, Figure 4). The main parameters of pumping system are efficiency, the number of pumps and lifting height of pumps. The number of pumps depends on the size of the mine. Usually there is four pumps in mine, two pumps are working continuously, one is for backup (Figure 7). Ubja oil shale surface mine pumping system consists of four centrifugal pumps, efficiency of three pumps are 250 m³/h and one is 360 m³/h (Figure 5, Figure 7). Centrifugal pumps are probably the most popular pump type in mining. The basic components of a centrifugal pump are an inlet, the eye of the rotating impeller, curved impeller vanes, volute, and discharge connection (Figure 6). A centrifugal pump is a simple device with the only moving part being the impeller which is attached to the shaft of a motor or engine. Assuming that the suction pipe and pump housing is filled with water to the level of the eye as the impellers rotate, a partial vacuum is created that allows atmospheric pressure to lift more water into the pump
housing. The water which entered the inlet opening at the eye of the impeller is set in rotation by the impeller and creates centrifugal force resulting in pressure at the outer perimeter of the impeller. Water moves outward from the impeller at a high velocity
and pressure into an expanding volute and is discharged. A single-stage centrifugal pump, that is, a single impeller, usually operates against low to moderate heads .
Figure 3 Hydraulic conductivity determination with Edumine software
Figure 4 Determination of steady-state head measured along flow path with Edumine software
Table 1 The amount of pumped out water, precipitation and transmissibility
2008 Month January February March April May June July August September October November December
0.35 Pumped out water, m³/s 0.30 0.25 0.20 0.15 0.10 0.05 0.00 August April June July May January February October March November September December
Length of Ubja oil shale surface Days/ month trench Transmissivity mine Precipitation m³/month m³/d m³/s mm/month m/d m m²/d 436000 14065 0.16 31 41.8 0.00135 600 23.4 400000 13793 0.16 29 54.1 0.00187 600 23.0 750000 24194 0.28 31 54.5 0.00176 600 40.3 500000 16667 0.19 30 18.9 0.00063 600 27.8 581000 18742 0.22 31 21.9 0.00071 600 31.2 352000 11733 0.14 30 176.5 0.00588 600 19.6 450000 14516 0.17 31 71.5 0.00231 600 24.2 404000 13032 0.15 31 176 0.00568 600 21.7 638000 21267 0.25 30 41.3 0.00138 600 35.4 436000 14065 0.16 31 52.6 0.00170 600 23.4 562000 18733 0.22 30 64.5 0.00215 600 31.2 705000 22742 0.26 31 38.3 0.00124 600 37.9
200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0
Pumped out water from Ubja oil shale surface mine II pumps IV pumps
I pump III pumps Precipitation
Figure 5 The number of pumps and the amount of pumped out water and precipitation Pumped out water from surface and underground mines are leaded to the sedimentation ponds. Sedimentation ponds are used to settle suspension. The size of the sedimentation ponds depends on the amount of pumped out water and suspension, water velocity and the required settling time of solid sediment. If flow velocity is lower, then solid sediment will settle faster. Settled water from sedimentation ponds are leaded to the natural water bodies like ditches or rivers. Eesti Energia Kaevandused Ltd methodology for sedimentation pond has been used to design sedimentation pond in Ubja oil shale surface mine and it has been used for decades in practice and approved by the Public Service of Environment .The length of the sedimentation pond of Ubja oil shale surface mine with two overflow wall is 640 meters, depth is 1.5 meters and width is 32 meters with 2 meter high dams (Table 2, Figure 9).
Figure 6 Centrifugal pump components
3. Calculating Dynamic Head
The essential information needed to properly select a pump is the required flow rate in gpm (L/s) and the total dynamic head in ft (m). Flow rate is dependent primarily on operational factors such as the anticipated rate of flow into a surface or underground mine. Determination of the total dynamic head requires consideration of suction lift, elevation difference between the pump and discharge point, pressure requirements, if any, at the discharge outlet, friction along pipes and fittings, and velocity head. Dynamic
lift of water at the suction side is calculated as the required pressure needed to raise water from the water surface to the height of the centerline of the pump and to overcome frictional resistance in the intake pipe and fittings . The lifting height of pump is about 15 meters in Ubja oil shale surface mine.
4 Pump Selection
Pump characteristic curves for an electric-motordriven pump contain additional information on pump speed, efficiency, horsepower and suction Head (Figure 8). Motors operate at a constant speed. Their rpm cannot be varied like a gasoline or diesel engine. A V-belt pulley arrangement is used to adjust a motor to the desired operating speed . The total head and pump discharge can be changed by placing pumps in series or parallel or by changing the operating speed. To plot characteristic curves for parallel and series pumping installations, it is required to secure each pump’s characteristic curve. For parallel pump characteristic curves, the flow rates are added at a given head; for series pump characteristic curves, the heads are added at a given flow rate. As the pump speed is increased, 1- the discharge is proportionally increased, 2- head varies as the square of the RPM ratio, and 3- BHP (brake watts) varies as the cube of the RPM ratio 
Figure 7 Sedimentation pond and pipes of Ubja oil shale surface mine
Table 2 Calculation of the sedimentation pond parameters Maximum water inflow Volume of solid sediment Volume of solid sediment, which reaches out to the pool Required time for settling Duration time of sedimendation pond Specific gravity of solid sediment The cross-sectional area of the sedimentation pond V- Required water velocity for settling Depth of sedimentation pond Width of sedimentation pond Coefficient Kb Length of sedimentation pond Parameters of the sedimentation pond: Length Depth Volume 594 1.5 16500 m m m³ h=V*Tp*3600*Kb B=W/hp W=Qp/V 1000 34.5 27.5 15 20 1.3 27.8 0.01 1.5 18.5 1.1 594 m m³/h mg/l mg/l h a t/m³ m² m/s m m
Figure 8 Pump characteristic curves for electric-motor-driven pump
natural water bodies. To select a pump there is the required to determine flow rate in gpm (L/s) and the total dynamic head in ft (m). Ubja oil shale surface mine pumping systems consists of four centrifugal pumps, total efficiency 1110 m³/h and lifting height about 15 meters. The length of the sedimentation pond of Ubja oil shale surface mine with two overflow wall is 640 meters, depth is 1.5 meters and width is 32 meters with 2 meter high dams. Pumped out water is leaded to the Toolse river. Almost quarter of drainage water infiltrates through the wall of the sedimentation pond back to the mining area, therefore one opportunity to reduce water inflow to the mining sites is to construct the fine material barrier to the wall of the mining sites.
This paper was written within the framework of Grant 7499 of the Estonian Science Foundation “Conditions of sustainable mining” and the framework of Grant of the Estonian Science Foundation 6558 “Concept and methods of risk management in mining”. Figure 9 Sedimentation pond of Ubja oil shale surface mine
1. Metoditšeskoje položenije po projektirovaniju prudov-otstoinikov dlja otšiski šahtnõh i karjernõh vod ot vzvešennõh veštšestv, 1989. Kohtla-Järve. 2. Iskül, R. Kaeval, E. Robam, K. Sõstra, Ü. Valgma, I. Ubja põlevkivikarjääri ärastusvee päritolu ja koguse määramine. Keskkonnatehnika nr.3, 2009. 3. Lep7079. Kunda piirkonna ja Toolse jõevee ning põhjasetete seire 2007. 2008, TTÜ mäeinstituut. 4. Hartman L. Howard. Vol 1. SME Mining Engineering Handbook, 2nd Edition. 1992, Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Inc.
Total amount of drainage water in Ubja oil shale surface mine was about 6,2 million m³ in 2008. The amount of pumped out water changes seasonally, it is about two times lower in summer and winter than in spring and autumn (Figure 5). A surface drainage system consists of pumping system, pipes, water collecting system, sedimentation pond, channels and
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