Surface Water Control-Water Balance

Hutchison, Ian P. G.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 51
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
12.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter deals with the tools required to design leach operations to minimize spillage from leach pads and ponds and erosion damage during flood events or prolonged wet periods. It outlines methods used to design for prolonged dry periods when water shortage can be a problem. Seasonal operational aspects such as winter shutdown and coping with spring snowmelt periods are also discussed. General criteria useful when designing pregnant and barren solution ponds are also outlined. The aim of these notes is to provide designers and operators with a simp1ified approach to developing design parameters which make effective surface water management easy to achieve without resorting to extensive or elaborate analyses. Section 12.2 briefly outlines the types of problems associated with wet climates and floods, as well as dry periods. Determination of flood design parameters is discussed in Section 12.3. Circuit water balance and pond sizing are outlined in Section 12.4. Pond design considerations are included in Section 12.5. Worked examples are included in Section 12.6. 12.2 RAINFALL/RUNOFF PROCESSES There are two types of rainfall-runoff processes that are important when designing heap leach facilities. The first of- these is the short-term, intense rainfall or snowmelt events that occur over a period of a few minutes or hours, causing flooding that can lead to erosion damage and overtopping of ponds and containment dikes. Specific problems that can manifest themselves during these events include: • Washout of access roads; • Damage to containment dikes; • Flood water contamination of circuit water; • Damage to process water ponds by perimeter erosion or overtopping and erosion; • Loss of process circuit fluid due to breaks in containment dikes or process water ponds; and • Erosion of leach pile and consequent sediment contamination of process fluid. Other types of rainfall -runoff processes that could cause problems are the long-term-(generally months-long) wet or dry periods. Extended wet periods
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