Analytical method for predicting filling rates of mining pit lakes: example from the Getchell Mine, Nevada

Shevenell, L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Nevada now has, or will have, 35 pit lakes resulting from open-pit mining below the water table. State regulators are requiring that the ultimate pit lake water quality be predicted as part of the permit application process. Water balances/pit lake filling rates must be esti¬mated in support of the geochemical modeling. In Nevada, analytical and numerical methods have been employed for the study of pit lakes. In the current work, analytical solutions are investigated for one pit lake, the Getchell south pit lake, which previously filled be¬tween 1968 and 1982 during a hiatus in mining. Water levels vs. time are available for this lake and these data have been fitted with a hyperbolic curve. This water-level-vs.-time curve was used in simple water-balance computations to find the net inflow rates by forcing computed water levels and volumes to match those of the known water levels and volumes through time. The model described here provides realistic volume fluxes into and out of the lake on a monthly basis as the pit lake filled.
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