The mining industry is heavily invested in the collection and utilization of geotechnical data for various purposes. The mining industry is also invested in groundwater modeling for other purposes, sometimes unrelated to those involving geotechnical analysis.
This integrated modeling technique demonstrates the value that geotechnical data can provide to construct more accurate groundwater models even when those purposes are not directly aligned.
The translation of geotechnical datasets is key to creating data driven model inputs which hold up to rigorous review as opposed to broad, generalized assumptions regarding hydraulic property changes through time.
The approach developed by WSP aims to set a new standard for groundwater modeling of highly dynamic systems like block cave mines. It is an example of the firm’s goal of creating a Future Ready™ world that seeks new solutions for a changing world that is facing new environmental challenges. By viewing traditional approaches from a fresh perspective, and by using new tools developed through improving technology, WSP is helping its clients improve efficiency, reduce impact on the environment, and create safer work spaces.
The method and techniques developed on this project should also be considered for developing groundwater predictions associated with other types of subsurface construction projects, extending its influence even further.
Christopher Pantano is a WSP USA project hydrogeologist with the Mine Water Services Group in Butte, Montana. He and his WSP colleagues, Doug Oliver and Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, co-authored and presented “Geotechnical and Groundwater Modeling: An Integrated Approach for Block Cave Mining,” on Feb. 26, 2019 at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.
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