In previous blog posts we have talk extensively about water problems in mining and how water is one of top issues miners are dealing with today. The reason I come back to this topic is because I recently read an interview with professor Dirk Van Zyl, an expert in tailings and mined earth structures and a professor at University of British Columbia. He gave the interview as part of the Mine Water Solutions conference that took place in Vancouver during the week of April 12th, 2015.
In this interview professor Van Zyl says that mine water is really one of the most important pieces because either a mine has too much or has too little. It’s very seldom that a mine has just enough. If they have too much water, then miners may have storage issues, and may have issues with water treatment. If they have too little water, then they have to find water supplies and some mines go as far as desalinating ocean water and pumping it hundreds of kilometers at very high elevation heads to the mines.
So overall, mining companies are paying more and more attention to the mine water issues that they are dealing with. It is also an issue that affects the communities very much because in many cases it is a choice of using water for a mine or having it available for agriculture. That is the case in especially some of the drier regions of Chile and Peru.
One of the most interesting questions of the interview is when he was asked the number one thing that miners get wrong regarding water; he answered that all mines have water balance plans in place right now. One of the toughest pieces is having a way to validate that model. That takes time, effort, and commitment to make it happen. Continue Reading ▶