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Case Study

Integrated water management plan for iron ore expansion project

Ferrexpo Water Management

Development of a phased Integrated Water Management Plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of water use, recycling and disposal for a major combined greenfield mine expansion and brownfield improvement project.

The Situation

Ferrexpo Poltava Mining commissioned Advisian to assist in design and detailed studies for the expansion of their Ukrainian Iron Ore operations.  The project comprised a Greenfield element associated with development of the new Yeristova open pit mine and brownfield expansion of the existing GPL pits and production facilities.

Approach

Advisian identified that water management was a key risk and performance issue with the potential to affect the project schedule and impact on local communities and the environment. Although the Ukrainian mine had been operating for over 50 years it had not, until this time introduced systematic, end-to-end water management controls.  In order to mitigate these risks, we developed a coordinated monitoring program and a framework for an integrated water management plan (IWMP). 

Advisian staff undertook site reviews to assess the existing water management practices and conduct an initial assessment of the social and environmental water dependencies.  The team identified various environmental, social, and operating constraints to the proposed dewatering activities.  Opportunities were identified for improving the efficiency of the existing water systems for the brownfield operations and sustainable management of the water balance associated with the Greenfield project.

As part of the IWMP, Advisian developed a detailed water balance of the mine operations and the surrounding water environment.  This identified areas of water surplus, storage and deficit as well as providing an initial attempt at quantifying potential impacts to the natural water environment and communities.  The water balance was adapted to assess water supply security and potential social and environmental impacts throughout the construction and operational phases.

Value Delivered 

Advisian provided a suite of management tools as part of the IWMP, including water management models, a catchment consultation process, and treatment and mitigation systems.

This initiative led by Advisian’s experts was a pioneering step for enhanced water management across the operations and was significant in addressing international water management commitments associated with the trans-boundary River Dneiper system.  

Advisian adopted a long-term approach to integrated water management at the initial design phase.  International best practice principles were incorporated to ensure that costly re-designs were avoided when Ukrainian legislation was gradually brought in-line with EU standards.   

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