Site-wide Water Balance for the Mt Ida Magnetite Project

The Jupiter Mines Ltd (Jupiter) Mount Ida Magnetite Project is located within the Goldfields region of Western Australia, approximately 200 km north-west of Kalgoorlie.  The Project is currently at the feasibility study stage. In early 2012, Jupiter commissioned SRK Consulting (SRK) to develop a site-wide water balance model for the Mt Ida mine.  As a key activity requiring careful balance of risk with opportunity, it has been recognised by Jupiter that mine water management is of significant importance for ensuring the success of the Project.  Efficient water management can support and advance mining opportunity through enhancing value to shareholders, the community and the environment.

The final model integrates water balances that account for all mining, processing and non-processing facilities over each stage of the project life.  As a site-wide water balance, the model is central to planning and to informing the risk assessment process related to water management for each individual component of the project.

The model is also a powerful tool to identify and schedule essential infrastructure to manage the supply, transfer, storage, treatment and safe discharge of water used on site.  It is used to plan construction and maintenance schedules for completing project capital and operational cost estimation and importantly, for consideration of construction water requirements during project inception.

The potential risks associated with any conceptual mine water management plan may relate to a wide range of factors that include safe environmental discharge and the sustainability and reliability of mine supply along with any prevailing obligations to other stakeholders reliant on the same water resources.

In general, a sound model is fundamental for the optimisation of a conceptual water management plan, even in the early stages of mine project development, where at best, the water balance may be only an approximation of the eventual project conditions.

An integrated water balance model that is subject to continuing improvement through incorporation of new data, operational guidelines, mine plan details and design information will provide valuable support to design specification, environmental impact assessment and to any licence application processes.

The range of facilities incorporated within the Mt Ida mine water model required the collaboration of a multidisciplinary team comprising key Jupiter staff and SRK consultants to address the surface water, hydrogeology, civil engineering, mining, ore-processing and mine-waste components.

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