ACHIEVING A DRY MINE: DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF A LARGE UNDERGROUND DEWATERING SYSTEM
Mr Denis Flood, Mr Gerardo Labra
Excellon Resources Inc. operates the “La Platosa” mine in Durango, Mexico, 60 kms NE from Torreón City. In an effort to reduce costs and increase production from the high-grade deposit, Excellon embarked in an ambitious optimization plan in 2015 that consisted of constructing wells to proactively dewater the mantos (ore lenses). The optimization project consisted of drilling a series of diamond drill holes to locate and characterize water bearing structures, excavation of underground well stations and corresponding wells, installation and commissioning of pumps and associated electrical infrastructure, and construction of surface electrical and irrigation infrastructure. The result was the successful implementation of a dewatering system that pumps 30,000 gpm of water out of the mine and distributes it to neighbouring farms for irrigation while creating a localized cone of depression in the groundwater around the mine such that mineral extraction is occurring in dry conditions.