What is the Purpose of Mine Dewatering?

September 14, 2020

The whole process of mining can bring a huge amount of resources to various industries. However, the risk associated with this process can also be abundant, especially if some key elements and factors have not been addressed beforehand.

An element that can have a drastic impact on any mining activity is the groundwater. The presence of this element can be risky for mining sites that have weak and unstable overall composition. While some mining sites can easily solve groundwater issues on an ad-hoc basis, others require proper and permanent resolution to these issues for them to avoid causing damages and accidents in the long run.

One great solution for groundwater issues is mine dewatering. Generally, it is done to remove groundwater from a mining site, especially if it is found below the water table or on the upper surface of the zone of saturation.

Purpose of Mine Dewatering

Mining activities that are conducted on the mentioned layer of the ground may force groundwater to infiltrate the mining site, which can cause dangers to the lives of the people working on the site and permanent damages to the place. With mine dewatering, all the groundwater issues in a mining area are minimised and removed.

Mine dewatering boasts two primary purposes or objectives that mining sites can fully utilise. One of its purposes is to effectively control and lower the inflow of groundwater levels. This specific purpose is said to be the general mine dewatering, which usually involves the interception and collection of both ground and surface water before pumping them away from the site. Aside from the removal of water on the mining site, mine dewatering also carries out different groundwater exclusion methods so that any instance of water inflow will be cut off right away.

Another purpose of mine dewatering is to depressurise the surrounding area of open pit slopes, pit bottoms, shafts, and roadways. High pore water pressures around a site can destabilise slopes and underground opening, which can then affect the strength level of the rocks around these areas. With the help of various depressurisation systems, mine dewatering that hugely considers pore water pressure reduction will allow mining companies to obtain steeper yet safer and more stable open pit slopes.

Benefits of Mine Dewatering

Given their purposes and objectives, mine dewatering can be truly beneficial for mining activities. Mine dewatering can easily improve the working conditions of a site as well as the efficiency of the workers. Any instance of pit flooding can likewise be mitigated and prevented with the measures associated with mine dewatering. And since groundwater is controlled effectively, the stability and safety of the slope are both guaranteed throughout mining and underground activities.

Mine dewatering can also provide significant cost savings since mining sites do not need to opt for more costly emulsion explosives. Haulage or transportation costs of materials are also reduced substantially since dry ore and waste rocks weigh less compared to wet materials and products.

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