JWARP  Vol.10 No.1 , January 2018
Recycling Tailings Seepage Water for Diogo Heavy Minerals Mine Sustainability (Northern Senegal)
The sandy Quaternary and the deep Maastrichtian aquifers located in the northern coastal zone of Senegal, from the locality of Kayar in the south to Saint-Louis in the north, constitute the main sources of water supply for urban and local needs as well as mining activities. The Quaternary aquifer that provides the water required for the irrigation of local farmlands, hosts a significant heavy mineral sands deposit currently being mined by the Grande Cote Operations (GCO). As a result of variable rainfall and increased water abstraction, this shallow aquifer has recorded a continuous water level decline since 1970, with potential negative effects on both the social and economic development of the region. The mining of heavy minerals (zircon, ilmenite, leucoxene and rutile) at GCO is realised through conventional dredging techniques that require large volumes of water (up to 60,000 m3/d). The water pumped by the dredge to enable the extraction of the heavy minerals, infiltrates into the shallow aquifer, runs-off into the dredge pond or evaporates. The objective of this study is to evaluate a water balance that enables the provision of a permanent water supply to the dredge pond, whilst minimising the risk of flooding of the cropping depressions adjacent to the mine site or drying out of the farming wells. The hydrodynamic model implemented for this purpose was calibrated and tested during the first year of operation. The Root Mean Squared Error (RMSE) obtained for the calibration is approximately 0.52 m. The predictions indicate a requirement for the system to recover part of the tailings infiltration through dewatering boreholes. The quantity of recycled water is estimated at 16,000 m3/d on average. The model simulations show an additional water requirement, extracted from the deep Maastrichtian aquifer, varying between 23,000 and 28,000 m3/d to achieve the optimum pond water level.
Cite this paper: Seck, M. , Faye, S. , Robertson, M. and Rose, M. (2018) Recycling Tailings Seepage Water for Diogo Heavy Minerals Mine Sustainability (Northern Senegal). Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 10, 121-144. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2018.101008.

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