Just Add Water: The Importance of Groundwater in Your Mine Feasibility Study

Paul Williams, Vladimir Ugorets, Geoff Baldwin
Monday, October 3, 2016
First presented: 
Tailings and Mine Waste 2016
Published paper
Water Management

The capital and operating costs of mine dewatering can be appear negligible when combined with the overall project economics of the feasibility study (FS). However, groundwater issues can quickly become relevant, particularly in difficult permitting arenas where stakeholders are experienced and bound by thoughtfully crafted regulations. This case study highlights the need for early characterization of groundwater quality and quantity due to the impact these factors had on the technical economic model (TEM) for the project. Specifically, projected dewatering rates and poor groundwater quality resulted in high capital costs. Fortunately these items were identified and characterized relatively early in the project life cycle, allowing proper analysis of the data and collection of confirmatory information to keep the FS on track. 

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Feature Author

Paul D. Williams
Paul Williams, P.G., is a Principal Hydrogeologist with 30 years of experience in mining hydrology, hydrogeologic characterization, mine closure, numerical modeling, and water management. Current areas of focus include design and implementation of hydrogeologic data collection programs, management of dewatering evaluations, building conceptual models, and preparing prefeasibility and feasibility reports for open pit and underground mines. He has a background in field data collection, quantitative analysis of test data, and numerical modeling. Paul commonly acts as project manager, working directly with our mining clients and other consulting companies to meet technical and financial client needs.
Specializations: Groundwater Hydrology, Numerical Modeling, Water Management, Water Quality, Water Balance Analyses, and Mine Closure.
Groundwater Specialist
MSc (Civil Engineering), PH, PG
SRK Denver
Dr. Vladimir Ugorets

Dr. Vladimir Ugorets, Principal Hydrogeologist, has more than 35 years of professional experience in hydrogeology, developing and implementing groundwater flow and solute-transport models related to mine dewatering, groundwater contamination, and water resource development.  Dr. Ugorets’ areas of expertise are in design and optimization of extraction-injection wellfields, development of conceptual and numerical groundwater flow and solute-transport models, and dewatering optimization for open-pit, underground and ISR mines.

Principal Consultant - Groundwater Management and Hydrogeology
SRK Denver
SRK Worldwide