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Africa|Building|Consulting|Dewatering|Efficiency|Mining|Power|PROJECT|Projects|Refining|Services|srk|SRK Consulting|Storage|System|Technology|Testing|Water|Equipment|Solutions|Environmental|Mine Water

Consultancy concludes water project

MINE WATER MANAGEMENT Most of a mine’s water will generally be used in the process plant and these applications can usually be managed with much lower water qualities

SAFE TAILING PRACTICES Engineers, scientists and environmental experts collaborate to develop an interdisciplinary knowledge base, crucial for tailings compliance and safety

10th May 2024

By: Trent Roebeck

Features Reporter


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Multidisciplinary consulting firm SRK Consulting recently completed a project involving mine water, in West Africa, which started with characterising the key aquifers at the mine.

Thereafter, SRK developed a dewatering system based on site testing and numerical modelling, followed by a water balance flowsheet, for the client, says SRK principal hydrogeologist Ismail Mahomed.

The client averted the risk of having groundwater adversely affect the mining operation, as the mine was equipped with a customised and efficient mine dewatering plan.

“The water pumping system was engineered to be efficient: conserving power and optimising equipment requirements. The water could then be productively used, minimising clean water abstraction from streams used by local downstream communities.”

Therefore, besides economic benefits, there are operational and duty-of-care benefits to the system developed for the mine, adds Mahomed.

When taking on mine water consulting and management projects, SRK starts with desktop studies and a hydrocensus, which are the fundamental building blocks for water use options, explains SRK principal hydrogeologist Wadzanai Chimhanda.

This process is important for understanding who the water users are in the area, as well as the volumes of water being abstracted for various uses.

Thereafter, an analysis of geology and hydrogeology is conducted to formulate the basis for water management.

From an analysis of a mine’s water handling, the sources of water and storage, and the water discharge calculations, SRK can generate a unique and efficient full-cycle water management model for mining industry players, the firm reports.

“Gathering a range of detailed data, we can generate a numerical model for the client, which takes into account their mining plan,” says Chimhanda.

In this regard, Mahomed says solutions provided by mining consultants, such as SRK, enable mining corporations to take steps to improve mine water management and make water consumption more efficient, which will, in turn, prove to be cost-effective and efficient for the mining operation.

SRK’s consulting services can be used to develop water management process solutions that improve a client’s social licence to operate and their treatment and handling of water as a critical operational factor, while assisting in ensuring that environmental, social and governance risks are identified.

“There are always water-quality issues to consider, and SRK conducts water-quality monitoring where we recommend management strategies based on laboratory results.

“Engagement with local stakeholders is also required, as there may be an opportunity for the mine to enhance or contribute to the water supply in nearby communities,” adds Chimhanda.


Several innovative water management solutions – aimed at improving mine water management, increasing efficiency and sustainability of water abstraction processes – have recently emerged, notes SRK.

For instance, leveraging artificial intelligence, Big Data and the Internet of Things, allows for refining water analysis and management tasks through improved data collection methods and the interpretation thereof.

“A good example of how consultants are embracing technology is through the development of digital dashboards so that data visualisation can be enriched. “Reducing freshwater use and improving water recovery and recycling are already key foci at mines, and the solutions for these issues will become more datadriven,” Mahomed concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer




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