The Use And Applicability Of Flow Models To Quantify Intermine Flow In The Western Witbank Coalfields

Havenga, A.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
After the closure of collieries, they naturally start to fill up with water. As a result, hydraulic gradients develop between them and different hydraulic pressures are exerted onto peripheral areas or compartments within mines. This results in water flow between mines, or onto the surface. This flow is referred to as intermine flow. The collieries in the Witbank Coalfield have geometries such that there are several areas where this intermine flow is possible. Since the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has declared intermine flow as one of its greatest concerns for granting closure to South African mines, much research into this phenomenon is required. The challenges in determining intermine flow are numerous, and attention has focused on identification of areas where these flows can take place. The quantification of these flows is problematic due to the uncertainties in exact geometric configurations and the variation in site-specific hydraulic properties of thecoal and overlying lithilogical layers. During this study, use has been made of numerical flow modelling and several analytic solutions to test the applicability of the flow models as well as to predict groundwater flow directions, filling times of voids and flow volumes. The numerical modelling methodology entailed a downscaling approach starting with a broad regional model covering the entire area, followed by modelling the interactions between interconnected mines, and finally looking in detail at the major areas of interaction.
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