Mine Water Resource Management Systems


The major operational objectives of a mine water resource management system (WRMS) are to supply the water needs of the mine and mill, to minimise disturbance to mining due to rainfall flooding or seepage and to dispose of excess water. Historically, company management have placed a significantly lower emphasis on managing the WRMS as compared to managing production. Changing Government legislation concerned with the disposal of water from mine sites is, in many cases making mining companies look more closely at how they manage their water. For example, within the next few years it is likely that prior to mining approval by the Government, mining operations will have to submit water management plans/budgets and contingency strategies in addition to operational plans. While the formulation of a comprehensive water management plan/budget is an additional cost to the company at the mine establishment stage, such plans can be beneficial to the operation in the longer term. The two keys for the efficient design, operation and development of a WRMS are the establishment of written goals which have managerial priority and secondly, access to appropriate good quality data. Managerial priority towards the WRMS will increase as a consequence of the education of mine operators in the benefits to the operation of good WRMS management or less desirably as a requirement to meet Government legislation. The collection of appropriate WRMS data is a more complex issue and to obtain information efficiently and cost effectively relies on the clear definition of the data application. Good quality data are usually expensive to collect. Unco-ordinated data collection will most probably lead to poor data quality, inappropriate data parameter collection or both. The four main time frames over which data would be applied in a typical mine are the design of the WRMS, the day to day operation of the system, the optimization of the system, future planning, and the rehabilitation of the mine. The data applications are formulated from a knowledge of Government and mining/milling operational requirements. It is therefore obvious that immediate, short-term and long-term requirements need to be clearly specified. However, for expected long life mines it is difficult to predict requirements ten or more years into the future. Mine WRMS are generally at their infancy in both development and understanding. A pro-active stance by mining companies to improve development and management of their WRMS will reduce the potential financial impacts of changing legislation and is likely to improve the overall efficiency of the mining operation.

Meeting Name

3rd Large Open Pit Mining Conference (1992: Aug. 30-Sep. 4, Queensland, Australia)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Mine Water Resource Management; Mines; Water Needs

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1992 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

04 Sep 1992

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