Water consumption

WATER CONSUMPTION within the mining craft (EN: water consumption, water use; DE: Wasserverbrauch; FR: consommation d'eau; ES: consumo de agua; RU: водопотребление) is the expenditure of the water by the mining enterprises for the technical and household-domestic purposes.

The major sources, which are providing the water consumption for the technical purposes, are the underground mine waters and open-pit mine waters, the effluents from the tailing storage dumps and settling ponds (the recycled water), the water, which is used within the chain of the successive production processes without the purification and cooling, or which is passing these types of the treatment after each process (the so-called reused water), and also the superficial waters (rivers, lakes, water reservoirs, and so on). In case of the extraction of the useful minerals at the underground mines, the technical and recycled water participates within the processes of the extraction and transportation of the useful minerals. At the open-pit mines, the technical water is used for the hydraulic works during the stripping of the overburden, for the extraction and transportation of the useful minerals using the means of the hydraulic mechanization, for the irrigation of the mining mass at the dumps of the waste rocks, and of the roads within the open-pit mines. On the surface of the underground mines, the technical and recycled water is used for the cooling of the compressors, of the electric current rectifiers within the traction substations, for the prophylactic and extinguishing of the fires, and for the prevention of the ignition of the dumps of the waste rocks. At the productive petroleum fields, this water is used during the extraction with the water flooding.

The water consumption of the beneficiation plants is performed according to the once-through scheme or circulation scheme for the water supply, with the complete or partial usage of the industrial effluents. The water is consumed for the crushing of the ore, for the classification and beneficiation of this ore (for the flushing, and flotation, for the gravitational, wet, and magnetic separation, and so on), and also for the preparation of the solutions of the reagents, for the purification of the gases within the scrubbers, for the cooling of the equipment, for the hydraulic cleaning of the workshops, and so on. There are most often the major source of the water supply for the beneficiation plants the recycled and underground mine waters. The usage of the fresh water for the production needs is accepted for the replenishment of the irretrievable losses, and when there is impossible or not expedient the usage of the recycled water supply within the individual stages of the technological process.

For the household-domestic purposes, there is used the fresh water from the superficial or underground sources. The fresh drinking water or the underground mine water, which has been purified to the drinking quality, is also used for the dust suppression within the stopes, at the loading and unloading places, within the places for the scraping and crushing of the ore, within the mechanical-repair and drilling-refilling workshops, within the boilers, for the washing of the automotive transport, for the watering of the green plantings.

The volumes of the water consumption are determined using the norm of the water consumption, which they consider as the expedient expenditure of the water (recycled, fresh technical, and of the drinking quality from the source) for the productive, auxiliary, and household-domestic needs, which are ascribed to the unit of the produced produce, or to the unit of the processed raw material. There may be adopted as the unit of the major produce the mass, volume, quantity of the units, and in the individual cases their cost in terms of the monetary equivalent. They distinguish the technological norms for the water consumption (for the active enterprises), and the enlarged norms (for the enterprises, which are being designed). The technological norm for the water consumption is determined, using the quality of the original useful mineral, and using the technology of the productive process. The enlarged norm for the water consumption is planned for the future, according to the averaged e xisting indicators. The technological and enlarged norms for the water consumption are developed on the basis of the analysis of the water consumption and water diversion for the production of various types of the produce, which have been adopted within the projects during the recent five years, and also on the basis of the facts about the actual expenditures of the water, and about the quantities of the purified waste waters, which are discharged into the water bodies, at the advanced fatherland and foreign enterprises, and also on the basis of the scientific-research developments of the new progressive methods for the conducting of the mining works, and for the beneficiation technology.

The diversion of the waters during the extraction of the ore often exceeds the water consumption, and depends on the hydrogeological conditions of the embedment of the deposit. In case of the discharge of even the purified waste waters into the water sources, there is required the additional dilution of these waste waters using the fresh water. The total water consumption at the underground mines amounts to 6-10 million cubic metres per year, the water consumption at the open-pit mines amounts to 1-7 million cubic metres per year, the water consumption at the beneficiation plants amounts to 10-300 million cubic metres per year.