Predictive Site-wide Water Quality Modelling as a Tool for Mine Planning and Permitting: A Recent Canadian Example

An integrated and dynamic water balance and water quality model for a proposed base metal mine has been created using the GoldSim software package. The model was initially developed to address the water quality of the Tailings Management Facility pond and how pond discharge would potentially affect downstream water quality. However due to changing project objectives, the modeling has expanded over time through an iterative process to encompass the full mine site and all receiving environment water quality. The model results have been used as part of the mine planning/design process but are also intended to be used for the environmental impact assessment and permitting process. The model results serve as a prediction of water quality and the potential project impacts to the receiving environment water quality. This paper presents the process by which data from a wide variety of sources was used to construct the model and how the model results were used to guide development of a conceptual water management plan. In addition, the role of the model in establishing proposed discharge criteria will be highlighted. The model has been delivered as a fully functional application and the development of this aspect shall also be covered. The intent is that the end-user can be other than the modeller.

Fitzpatrick, A. 2012. “Predictive Site-wide Water Quality Modelling as a Tool for Mine Planning and Permitting: A Recent Canadian Example,” in: ICARD 2012, 9th International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage, Ottawa, ON, May 20-26, 2012.

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