Process for Integrating Surface Drainage Constraints on Mine Planning

CIM Toronto 2009
Les F. Sawatsky, Femi L. Ade, Bryan J. Pullman, Dana M. McDonald,
Abstract Surface drainage, particularly mine closure drainage, must be properly considered during all stages of mine planning because it presents constraints that are critical to economic mine operation, minimizing environmental impacts and ensuring compliance with government regulations. Deficient mine site drainage increases costs of operation, causes unnecessary environmental impacts and may result in regulatory violations. The scope of this paper includes stream diversions around mine areas, drainage systems within the mine disturbed footprint, and closure drainage works to control surface water, ground water, erosion, sedimentation, and seepage discharges following mine operations. Developing self-sustaining drainage facilities upon mine closure, requires a mine plan that develops appropriate topography and constructed drainage courses that replace the function of pre-disturbance drainage systems without aggravated erosion and deterioration.


Drainage criteria, particularly closure drainage criteria, represent important constraints on mine planning and are best considered by integrating drainage features into the mine plan well in advance of mining activities. Integrated mine planning by a multi-disciplinary team is recommended to achieve closure objectives at minimum cost and maximum effectiveness The geomorphic approach to channel design is an effective means of providing a drainage system that has the appearance, function and longevity of natural systems. By incorporating this technique into closure drainage planning, mine operators can construct sustainable (walk-away) drainage systems that require little or no maintenance in the long-term.


This paper presents a process by which drainage criteria and associated mine plan constraints can be integrated into the mine planning process. This paper outlines the process for detailed design of drainage facilities, particularly closure drainage systems that are designed by the geomorphic approach.
Keywords: Oil Sands Region, Channel Design, Alluvial channels, Regime channels, Geomorphic Approach, Long-term sustainability
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