Regional trade-offs between mine water and energy use: a water treatment case study

G Keir, G. and Woodley, A. (2013). Regional trade-offs between mine water and energy use: a water treatment case study. In: Water in Mining 2013: Proceedings. Water in Mining 2013, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (21-28). 26-28 November, 2013.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author G Keir, G.
Woodley, A.
Title of paper Regional trade-offs between mine water and energy use: a water treatment case study
Conference name Water in Mining 2013
Conference location Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 26-28 November, 2013
Proceedings title Water in Mining 2013: Proceedings
Place of Publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AusIMM)
Publication Year 2013
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status
ISBN 9781925100006
Volume 12/2013
Start page 21
End page 28
Total pages 8
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The mining industry faces concurrent pressures of reducing water use, energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in coming years. However, the interactions between water and energy use, as well as GHG emissions have largely been neglected in modelling studies to date. In addition, investigations tend to focus on the unit operation scale, with little consideration of whole-of-site or regional scale effects.

This paper presents an application of a hierarchical systems model (HSM) developed to represent water, energy and GHG emissions fluxes at scales ranging from the unit operation, to the site level, to the regional level. The model allows for the linkages between water use, energy use and GHG emissions to be examined in a flexible and intuitive way, so that mine sites can predict energy and emissions impacts of water use reduction schemes and vice versa. This paper examines whether this approach can also be applied to the regional scale with multiple mine sites.

The model is used to conduct a case study of several coal mines in the Bowen Basin, Australia, to compare the utility of centralised and decentralised mine water treatment schemes. The case study takes into account geographical factors (such as water pumping distances and elevations), economic factors (such as capital and operating cost curves for desalination treatment plants) and regional factors (such as regionally varying climates and associated variance in mine water volumes and quality).

The case study results indicate that treatment of saline mine water incurs a trade-off between water and energy use in all cases. However, significant cost differences between centralised and decentralised schemes can be observed in a simple economic analysis. Further research will examine the possibility for deriving model up-scaling algorithms to reduce computational requirements.
Keyword Mine water management
Water treatment
Systems modelling
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Thu, 12 Jun 2014, 15:14:53 EST by Greg Keir on behalf of Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry