Engineers Australia

Groundwater in Mining

Ian Hair & Detlef Bringemeier

Groundwater assessments are an integral part of almost every mining project. When a void (mine) is developed below the water table, groundwater will ingress to fill the mine void. A hydrogeological assessment is undertaken in order to ascertain the quantum of likely inflows and to evaluate the most appropriate dewatering / groundwater control measures to adopt in order to maintain dry and safe working conditions for mining machinery and operators. A hydrogeological assessment is also undertaken to ascertain the extent of likely impact of a mining operation on the surrounding groundwater regime, and to assist in the development of a groundwater monitoring network and program. Groundwater studies are often undertaken when a significant component of mine water supply is sourced from groundwater resources.

An EIS for a mining project and applications for the Mining Licence and Environmental Authority also require comprehensive groundwater assessments covering all groundwater issues from the project planning stage to mine closure and beyond.

Speaker biographies

Iain Hair is a Geologist / Hydrogeologist with almost 40 years of experience. His career has included both Government and consulting roles with many projects undertaken in the Mining Industry. Iain has worked on projects in all Australian states and in many overseas countries including: New Zealand, Indonesia, The Philippines, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Ireland. Iain has been Principal Hydrogeologist at Douglas partners for the past 7 years. Iain’s contribution to this event will be an overview of dewatering / groundwater control methods for open cut mining operations with case study examples from Australia, Burma, Thailand and India.

Dr Detlef Bringemeier is a groundwater specialist who has worked extensively in groundwater engineering and mine water management over the past twenty years. His specialities include complex groundwater investigations and the application of numerical modelling to groundwater and geotechnical applications. Dr Bringemeier’s key achievements include the completion of geotechnical and groundwater risk assessments for various levels of mine planning studies. He has worked on various coal mining projects in the Bowen Basin, Southern Coal Fields and the Hunter Valley. Detlef has been responsible for advanced groundwater modelling for a range of in-pit and on-ground residue storage facilities, as well as for waste dumps at major Australian mines. Detlef will present on investigation techniques and analytical methods used for hydrogeological characterization of fractured rocks in support of mine water inflow control and aquifer interconnectivity assessments.

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