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New unit for maintaining the efficiency of the dewatering network in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine

New unit for maintaining the efficiency of the dewatering network in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine

Wednesday, 10 June, 2020

The management of water, which arises from the mining of copper, has been assigned starting in June to a newly-established unit in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine. The area of the orebody being worked by this mine is characterised by a high risk of water inflow. Annually, more than 15 mn m3 of water are pumped to the surface from this mine alone.

Since 1 June on-going maintenance of the efficiency of the dewatering network in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine, in particular in the SW-1 and SG mining sections, has been managed by a special team – the Piping Operations Unit. The establishment of this unit was planned for 2023 to follow the commissioning of a new pumphouse and the construction of a piping network.

“We are dealing here with natural processes which, due to their unpredictability, are exceptionally difficult to control. That is why we decided to expand our water-related monitoring, and in consequence to accelerate the start-up of the unit,” says Radosław Stach, Vice President of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. (Production).

It was in the SW-1 and SG regions in October of 2019 that that there occurred an increased flow of water to the mine. To gain control of the situation the network of pipes was expanded by an additional 27 kilometers, equivalent to the distance from Legnica to Lubin, along with around 18 km of additional piping which serves as a back-up.

The project also included the construction of more than a dozen additional pumps. This complicated underground dewatering system is under 24/7 monitoring. The operating parameters of the pumps are measured and the amount of water flowing through the pipes is controlled. All of the data is at the disposal of the One Control Room operators who manage the mine.

The current flow of water in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine is half the amount which was experienced when the situation first occurred last year. During the course of the event the staff had to deal with draining off around 14 square meters of water per minute. Actions taken to stabilise the situation included injection of the orebody both underground and at the surface, the construction of additional pumping stations and the expansion of the piping network. The situation in the mine is safe at the moment.

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