Thursday, April 16, 2015

GoldSim Applications at the Mine Water Solutions Conference

Posted by Rick Kossik

I've just returned from the Mine Water Solutions in Extreme Environments Conference in Vancouver, BC.  This biennial conference focuses on a wide range of issues associated with mine water management, particularly in extremely wet, dry and cold climates, and with extreme hydrogeological and geochemical issues.  As many of you know, GoldSim is used extensively worldwide for such applications, and as a result, GoldSim was commonly mentioned during the conference.  For example, in one of the keynote sessions, Lisa Wade of GoldCorp (one of the world's largest gold producers), described the company's Water Stewardship Strategy, which it uses to ensure water security and production, reduce costs and impacts, improve operations, and address stakeholder concerns.  During the talk, Lisa mentioned that as part of the Strategy, water management models at the various mine sites are all carried out using GoldSim.  In addition, during the conference a number of technical papers featuring GoldSim were presented. Two such applications are briefly summarized in this post.
  • Developing Mine Water Balance Models for Extreme Environments. Dave Hoekstra of SRK Consulting has over 20 years of experience in developing water balance models for the mining industry.  In fact, Dave was arguably the first person to apply GoldSim to such problems (in the mid to late nineties while working for Golder Associates). Dave showed a wide variety of water balance examples for mines from arctic climates to Saharan, focusing on strategies for simulating rainfall, runoff, snowmelt and snow accumulation, all developed using GoldSim.
  • A Phosphate Mine Water Model Utilizing the GoldSim Modeling Tool.  Phosphate mines can be somewhat unique in that the volume of water handled is greater than that of any other substance, including the phosphate itself.  An average size mine is nearly always pumping several hundred thousand gallons per minute of water around the site. As a result, prudent management of the water (and its chemical composition) is critical to the sustainability of the business, particularly since the industry will face stricter effluent limitations in the future. Jeffery Davis of Cardno discussed a water management model of a phosphate mine in Florida, developed using GoldSim.  The model is intended to help ensure that the mine is properly positioned to comply with stricter regulatory limits and further improve water management decisions.
Most of the papers presented at the conference should soon be available at the InfoMine eStore.

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