Guidelines for mine water management

Henna Punkkinen, Lea Räsänen, Ulla-Maija Mroueh, Juhani Korkealaakso, Samrit Luoma, Tiina Kaipainen, Soile Backnäs, Kaisa Turunen, Kimmo Hentinen, Antti Pasanen, Sari Kauppi, Bertel Vehviläinen, Kirsti Krogerus

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    Mining influences the quality and quantity of water in the mine area and in its surroundings and changes hydrological conditions. Although mining companies have long been conscious of the importance of water management, they still face environmental problems. In fact, water management is at the moment the most challenging stress factor concerning environmental safety in Finnish mines.

    This report is a part of the WaterSmart project, which aims to improve the knowledge of the actual water quantities and of the water balances in mining areas. Principles of sound water management in different phases of the mine's life cycle are introduced in the report. For example, when establishing a new mine, the planning of water management actions should be started already in early project planning phases. Additionally, the use of a comprehensive and proactive approach that develops throughout the mine's life cycle is important, not to forget legislative requirements or aspects related to social acceptance of mining. This report describes the current status, needs, and challenges of mine water and water balance management especially in Finland and identifies expected future needs for water management solutions. The tools for efficient water management are presented with the main focus on water balance modelling programs and water quantity and quality monitoring practices. It is recommended that mines have a constantly updated water balance management system, which not only takes into account all natural waters on the site and in the surroundings but can also be integrated with the process control systems of the mine. This enables improved forecasting and management of the water volumes. With the help of dynamic modelling, it is possible to predict the effects of operational modifications and sudden changes in water balance, which allows comparison of different mine plan alternatives as well as better provision for risk situations. With dynamic modelling, it is also possible to integrate the monitoring data with process control and thus enable updating the model. It is recommended to have an online monitoring system at least for water level and flow at strategic points on the mine site. A possibility to monitor online also the weather conditions and water quality parameters enables ever more extensive real-time follow-ups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages172
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-8443-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Technology


    • mining
    • water management
    • water balance
    • modelling
    • monitoring


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