Existing Mines-Two Case Histories

Williams, Roy E. ; Bloomsburg, George L. ; Ralston, Dale R. ; Winter, Gerry V.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 43
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
INTRODUCTION This manuscript is based on site inspections of five existing mines and the detailed analysis of two of the five. The detailed analysis and mathematical models of the two mines are presented herein in order to demonstrate a method of predicting mine water inflow using existing mines as a data base. Water management procedures were studied at all mines. Our original criteria for mine selection were that the mines be less than five years old and have an inflow rate in excess of 2000 gpm (7.6 m3/min). Background hydrologic and hydrogeologic data were required so that two of the mines could be used for our computer modeling experiments. Our original criteria proved to be difficult to meet. We contacted numerous mines via various sources. Many mines were unable to meet the cri¬teria stated or were not interested in cooperating with us. Therefore, we allowed some flexibility in the application of these criteria to satisfy our orig¬inal requirements. Although the visitations at all the mines are not discussed herein the characteristics of the two mines simulated are presented. These simulated mines consist of a uranium mine in New Mexico and a lead mine in Missouri. The mines and owners will remain anonymous by request. URANIUM MINE-CASE HISTORY NUMBER 1 Mine Location The uranium mine that we simulated is located in northwestern New Mexico. The ground surface at the uranium mine is at an elevation of approx¬imately 7000 ft (2134 m) above mean sea level. The climate is arid to semi-arid with an average annual precipitation of approximately 10 in. (25.4 cm) (John and West, 1963). Geologic Setting It is essential that a conceptual model of the stratigraphy, hydrostratigraphy, and structural geology of a mine site be developed prior to simulation by a mathematical model. If such a conceptual model is not developed prior to simulation major errors are difficult to avoid. The uranium mine we have simulated is located in the San Juan Basin (Fig. 68), which is a structural basin located in northwestern New Mexico and adjacent parts of Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. The sedimentary rocks present in the deepest part of the basin are nearly 15,000 ft (4572 m) thick (John and West, 1963). The regional dip of the sedimen¬tary rocks in the Grants area is generally northward toward the San Juan Basin; the regional attitude is modified locally by normal faults and folds (Hilbert, 1963). The rocks of interest in this area are sedimentary in origin and range in age from Penn¬sylvanian to Cretaceous. They rest on the Precam¬brian core of the Zuni Uplift. Associated intrusive and extrusive rocks are of Tertiary and Quaternary ages (Hilbert, 1963). The deepest sedimentary unit of interest at this mine site is the Morrison Formation as described by Hilbert (1963). The Morrison Formation con¬sists of three members in the general area of the mine site; the deepest member is the Recapture. The Recapture Member consists of alternating beds of gray sandstone and grayish red siltstone or mud¬stone with strata up to several feet in thickness. Only a few small deposits of uranium are contained within the Recapture Member. The Westwater Canyon Member overlies the Recapture Member of the Morrison Formation. The Westwater Can¬yon Member is approximately 150 ft (46 m) thick and consists of light brown to gray, poorly sorted, arkosic sandstone, and some interbedded gray mud¬stone. The Poison Canyon Formation denoted in subsequent discussions, tables, and figures was de¬termined to be a part of the Westwater Canyon Member. The separate connotation is used for the description of mining operations and hydraulic properties but a separate physical description is not included. This member of the Morrison Formation contains many large deposits of uranium. This is (some pages in this article are damaged)
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