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Measurement of Water in Underground Mines

Larry Cope
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
First presented: 
SME 2013
Water Management

Integral to developing a mine water balance is the need to accurately measure the variety of flows that can occur in an underground operation.  Groundwater inflow to an underground mine can be complex, and if not done carefully, can result in overestimates of flow by redundant measurements or under estimates by missing flow.  Further, a flow measurement system, if not carefully conceived can fail to provide the information that can drive decisions about mixing or segregating water for discharge, treatment, or process makeup.     
With clear objectives to quantifying specific areas of inflow and the locations of mixed and un-mixed waters, an investigator can identify sources of water using water chemistry and precipitation pulses.  With care, inflows can be identified as sourced by rapid recharge from the surface, or by inflows from mineralized, mining impacted, and un-mineralized volumes of rock. 
The paper presents lessons learned about the relative strengths and weaknesses of a variety of measurement methods, and describes design and installation techniques that can maximize value of the data collected.  Data are presented that illustrate effective measurement techniques.
SRK North America