At this point, it can hardly be underlined enough how water is one of the most fundamental resources for life. Whether it comes from surface water or groundwater sources, access to water that meets proper quality and quantity standards is of vital importance across the world. Since water is one of the most important shared resources, we all share the responsibility of finding ways to meet this pressing need for water now and in the future.
Mining has an important role in addressing this water management challenge. In mining, water is used to manage dust emissions, wash ore, slurry tailings and generate power. Nevertheless, to ensure long-term responsible and sustainable water management practices in mining, it is critical that operators can quickly get a complete visual overview of water systems and site conditions. Read further to discover how.
How can water management be improved at mine sites?
Water is an essential part of running and maintaining efficient mining operations. However, all mines are different. Mines are highly dynamic environments subject to frequently changing site conditions, mine plans, seasonal climatic variations as well as various other water-related factors. As a result, clever mine water management operations call for a thorough understanding of existing conditions while at the same time learning from historical data to improve future decision making. In this regard, it is important to not just consider conceptual and statistical models, but also gather real-time data. Today, the industry has the knowledge and engineering capabilities in order to do so, and generally have sufficient monitoring and environmental data available. Yet, in many cases, situational awareness is still lacking. Operators at mine sites are struggling with displaying large amounts of data to quickly obtain a complete and accurate picture of real-time water conditions.
Improving situational awareness with Cloud technology
To gather all this data and translate it into actionable insights in real-time, operators are much better off using a cloud-based dynamic decision support tool that automatically displays data through a visual overview. With real-time monitoring, forecasting, scenario testing and reporting of critical water operations, a digital representation of mine operations can be displayed in a fully customisable dashboard, showing the most essential data for statistical and real-time water management. In this way, operators are continuously provided with quick and relevant knowledge, and can reduce risks by viewing water data from various water related systems operating on a mine site. This will result in reduced time spent on analysis and evaluation of water related risks, lower management costs, enhance auditability of workflows and significantly improve overall efficiency of operations at mine sites.
Dashboards – what kind of data can they show?
Now you might wonder what type of information can be displayed in the dashboards.
Since different mining sites have different water management needs, mining operators need to make decisions based upon different real-time post-processing of data and on-the-fly updates of predictive model results. Therefore, the visual dashboard must be customised to show the required information for a specific mining site, and it must also get updates of future conditions on a continuous basis for improved decision making. Information such as metrological data, different water levels in ponds, water treatment plant volumes, tailing volumes, performance metrics and similar data needed to operate a mining site in a secure and efficient way, can typically be displayed in real-time. The figure below shows an example of a dynamic dashboard where data and graphs are updated in real-time using DHI’s recently developed MIKE Mine platform.
Visual dashboard in MIKE Mine © DHI
Curious to learn more about efficient mine water management?
There is no doubt that understanding the different water parameters coming into play at mines is equally complex and tricky to comprehend. For this reason, real-time tailored reports, calculations and insights that drop the sufficient knowledge into the laps of operators and decision makers on an ongoing basis is more than ever critical in order to manage water in the best possible way. Leveraging the benefits of cloud-based technology and digital transformation of water monitoring systems, decision makers are able to combine real-time information with continuously updated data on predictions of current and future operational scenarios.
If you want to learn more about clever mining water management technology, including MIKE Mine, explore DHI’s various integrated solutions that ensure efficient operations and help you make smarter decisions faster at mine sites.
About the author
- Elizabeth has 13+ years of experience as a hydrologist in the engineering & environmental consulting industry, and in related data analytics & scientific software development technologies. Her consulting experience ranges across several sectors, with a current emphasis on mining since joining DHI in 2018. She leads the design and development of MIKE Mine, DHI’s web application for mine water management.