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Probabilistic modeling of operational dynamic water balance system for a mining facility

Pelenk, Ümit Giray
Water management in any environment is quite difficult and complex not only because of the effort that is required to comply with the environmental regulations but also due to the dynamic nature of the system not well suited for the deterministic approaches. As a result, probabilistic approaches are developed to make decisions that can actually represent the uncertainties quantitatively as probability distributions. Such methods, considered to be the best practice in mining industry, are very useful to make design planning and management decisions as we predict an ensemble of probable outcomes and to develop strategies minimizing the associated risks. In this thesis, probabilistic simulation is conducted for the purpose of evaluating the dynamic water balance system for one of the mining facilities, called heap leach, by using a software program called GoldSim, which uses the Monte Carlo simulation to model the dynamic systems quantitatively to represent the uncertainties in the systems. Primary objectives of this water balance model are to evaluate the ponds capacities and the external makeup water demand during the heap leach operation. The probabilistic model simulations showed that the current ponds have the capacity to accommodate the solution being circulated at the heap leach facility and no overflow would be expected at the storm pond. The model results also show that the external makeup water demand during the operation life of the proposed heap leach facility is estimated to be around 80 m3 /hr (22 L/s) from 2nd to 8th year of the operation, at the 95th percentile