Water storage modelling - Mexico

Water storage modelling - Mexico

Water abstraction from a nearby river was enough to meet the existing needs of the Dolores gold mine in Mexico. But with expansion plans calling for an increase in volume, we were commissioned to assess the viability of storing water in an old open pit. 

We reviewed the final pit model and used surface modelling software to develop a water staging curve to identify the lowest overflow level and the relationship between water elevation, volume and surface area. We defined the catchment area of the pit and calculated the potential volumes of rainfall runoff, allowing for evaporation. We studied the daily difference between the licensed abstraction volume and the water requirements of the site, and assessed seepage to groundwater from the open pit. We produced a model to simulate all these water inflows and outflows on a daily time step based on climatological data.

The results of the modelling indicated that even with additional supply from the river abstraction licence, the limited storage volume in the open pit could not be relied on to support the mine expansion for around three months of the year.