Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) has been awarded an EPCM contract by Oz Minerals to undertake upgrade works for the water supply well field at the miner’s Prominent Hill Mine in South Australia.
These works are required to ensure long-term water supply security for the mine for a range of mill throughput rates, including the re-development of a number of production wells, the drilling of an additional (16th) production well, and connecting that well into the water supply system, and the investigation of the potential to expand the well field at some stage in the future.
The contract also includes optimising the well field to include variable speed drives at each of the production wells and upgrading well headworks, electrical controls and the operating system (including SCADA).
The Prominent Hill Copper/Gold mine is located in the far north of South Australia. The mine is owned and operated by Oz Minerals and involves the export of copper concentrate from the Port of Darwin via the Adelaide to Darwin Railway. The mill currently operates at around 1,200 tph ore throughput.
SKM has been working with Oz Minerals, at their Prominent Hill Mine, on water supply-related projects, since 2005. More recently, SKM has continued to provide support to Oz Minerals in preparing environmental compliance reports and operating the water supply well field.
Early studies centred on hydrogeological aspects of the project and involved identifying a groundwater resource for the mine, supervising the construction of a 22 ML/day well field located between 40 and 80 km from the mine, and assisting with gaining regulatory approvals and water licences. The well field, which was commissioned in early 2009, presently comprises 15 production wells that draw water from depths of up to 500m.