THE IMPACT OF COPPER MINE TAILINGS DAM ON THE GROUNDWATER QUALITY

World Mining Congress
Process water from production of concentrates in Meydook copper sulfide mine is transferred to the 8.3 million m3 tailings dam and a water retention pond after initial thickening. Elevated concentrations of heavy metals, sulfate, and TDS and decrease in pH as well as seepage into the aquifers have been the concern of the regulatory agencies since the start of activities. In this paper the results of a 6-month monitoring program from 4 wells are presented. The wells were located approximately 1.5 km from downstream of tailing dam (0.4 km from water retention pond) as well as upstream background well (2.28 km from water retention pond and 1.27 km from tailings dam). The objective was to study possible effect of accumulated tailings on the groundwater resources. Water levels in sampled wells were on average between 20 and 40 m.
Keywords: Waters; Water; metals; Dams; Concentration; Groundwater; Groundwaters; copper;
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