Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1986
It is imperative that the hydrogeologic frame- work and the ground water flow systems of a Potential mine area be investigated prior to initiation of mining. Such investigations are necessary so that potential mine water inflow problems can be anticipated and controlled. Obvious difficulties can arise if large inflows of ground water occur in underground workings. Costs of water removal and disposal, if not foreseen and included in economic planning, can severely limit or eliminate profit from a mining operation. Safety problems associated with large inflows are an additional potential problem. The inflow of water into a mine necessarily alters the associated ground water system. The inflow also may impact nearby surface water regimes, depending upon the interaction of the surface water and ground water systems. The inflow of water into a mine inevitably causes a decline in the ground water levels in the vicinity of the mine. This decline may be restricted to a small area or it may extend a considerable distance, depending upon the hydrogeologic properties of the associated hydrostratigraphic units. A decrease in surface flow will result if the area of ground water level decline intersects a stream or spring that is hydraulically connected to the ground water system. Mine inflow problems historically have been evaluated after-the-fact. Premining hydrologic investigations only recently have been initiated. Brown's (1977)* report on anticipated hydrologic impacts of oil shale mining in the Piceance Basin of Colorado is an example of premining hydrologic planning. Observed difficulties inherent in designing a data collection network and then utilizing the data to predict mine inflow have led us to the preparation of this manuscript. This manuscript reflects a two-phase effort. The first phase describes and develops analytical and numerical techniques for mine inflow prediction. Emphasis in this section is placed on the selection and application of data collection techniques and data analysis procedures. The second phase applies the prediction technique(s) developed during phase 1 to two existing mines. The objective of phase 1 efforts is to evaluate the hydrologic variables associated with surface water systems and ground water systems that can affect the inflow of water into an underground mine. Subsequently these variables are incorporated into predictive techniques for estimating underground mine water inflow and its effect on associated ground water and surface water systems. The specific objectives of phases 1 and 2 are to: 1) Determine the hydrologic parameters required for predicting underground mine water in- flow and the potential effects of the inflow on surface and ground water systems. The hydrologic parameters represent both premining and past initiation conditions. 2) Outline methods for obtaining the necessary input data for the predictive techniques in pre- mining and post initiation periods. 3) Present existing numerical techniques for predicting underground mine water inflow including assumptions Ad required input. 4) Evaluate existing numerical techniques previously tabulated based on their applicability to mine water inflow prediction. 5) Attempt to develop analytical techniques for predicting underground mine water inflow. 6) Develop, through modification of existing models, a general mathematical model as a numerical technique for predicting underground mine water inflow and the resultant effects on surface and ground water systems. 7) Apply the predictive techniques to two existing mines selected for this purpose. 8) Compare the predicted inflow rates to measured inflow rates at both mines. 9) Compare predicted impact on district hydrology to observed impacts where possible. 10) Evaluate the predictive technique.