Seepage from a 550m deep open pit surrounded by natural water bodies was modeled and accounted for in the water balance. Safety, for the environment and workers, was forefront in the design.
Alderon Iron Ore Corp. is proposing to develop and operate an iron ore mine on the Kamistiatusset property in western Labrador, which will have the nominal capacity of 16 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate annually. The open pit mine is located along the iron rich trough that runs through Labrador and is surrounded by surface lakes and other environmental features. The proximity and protection of environmental assets was paramount in the design which needed to address efficient use and treatment of water across the project footprint.
Advisian was retained to provide full EPCM services for the mine from the end of conceptual design through to construction. As part of that assignment, a full integrated water management plan was developed to understand all the potential sources and demands for water across the project. A site-wide three-dimensional groundwater model was developed to understand seepage rates into the pit, and incorporated into a GoldSim water balance model to track all water inputs and demands over the 30-year life of the project.
The results of the integrated water management plan allowed the owner to understand the overall water need for the project and design the lake intake accordingly. Reclamation of water from the tailings facility, augmented with water captured and treated in eight site sedimentation ponds provided a distinct offset to the amount of water needed from natural resources. Surface water bodies were protected, while obtaining efficient re-use of water site-wide for all required demands.