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Definition of mine water drainage effluent (3 replies)

9 months ago
Hauptsturm 9 months ago

We are using the terms “mine water”, “mine drainage” of “mine effluent” on a daily basis – but do we have a definition for this expression?If you know one from your country or use one, could you please post it here, as I am currently putting together a short compilation?

Bill Rico
9 months ago
Bill Rico 9 months ago

There are no recognized bodies that sanction the use of one or another expression. Therefore, common usage dictates their meaning.

Generally, mine water is any water that has been altered by mining influenced processes, be it usage in a mill or percolation over mine waste.

Mine drainage is generally differentiated from mine water in excluding process water. It includes seepage below waste rock or impoundments, or underground water (except water used in drilling), but not mill water or process solution or heap leach solution.

By this definition, process water is water that is used in the extraction process, whether ore concentration, floatation, extraction, leaching, etc. Process water may or may not receive reagents involved in the extraction process, whereas mine drainage only gains constituents through a leaching process.

Mine effluent is a discharge from a point source like a treatment plant or dam spillway. It is usually regulated, whereas some seeps (mine drainage) may be unregulated discharges.

There is also water from a fire pond that is generally recycled on site and is not meant to be discharged.

9 months ago
Obersturmbann 9 months ago

We use the same terminology. The term mine water is also applied to water from mine dewatering - this is generally groundwater that would flood the pit or underground.

Bob Mathias
9 months ago
Bob Mathias 9 months ago

To confuse the issue further, as of late some differentiate mine drainage into two parts: acid mine drainage and neutral mine drainage; the former being self explanatory while the latter would be mine impacted waters of neutral pH but containing metals/constituents at relatively high concentrations. I personally would not classify mine dewatering water as "mine water" unless it had constituent concentrations above background/baseline conditions. Unless there are significant impacts to the water from mining, my humble opinion is that it should just be classified as "water."

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