Regional trade-offs between mine water and energy use : a water treatment case study

Keir, Greg & Woodley, Alan (2013) Regional trade-offs between mine water and energy use : a water treatment case study. In Moran, Chris (Ed.) Water in Mining 2013 Proceedings, Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Brisbane, QLD.

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Abstract

The mining industry faces concurrent pressures of reducing water use, energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in coming years. However, the interactions between water and energy use, as well as GHG e missions have largely been neglected in modelling studies to date. In addition, investigations tend to focus on the unit operation scale, with little consideration of whole-of-site or regional scale effects.

This paper presents an application of a hierarchical systems model (HSM) developed to represent water, energy and GHG emissions fluxes at scales ranging from the unit operation, to the site level, to the regional level. The model allows for the linkages between water use, energy use and GHG emissions to be examined in a fl exible and intuitive way, so that mine sites can predict energy and emissions impacts of water use reduction schemes and vice versa. This paper examines whether this approach can also be applied to the regional scale with multiple mine sites. The model is used to conduct a case study of several coal mines in the Bowen Basin, Australia, to compare the utility of centralised and decentralised mine water treatment schemes. The case study takes into account geographical factors (such as water pumping distances and elevations), economic factors (such as capital and operating cost curves for desalination treatment plants) and regional factors (such as regionally varying climates and associated variance in mine water volumes and quality).

The case study results indicate that treatment of saline mine water incurs a trade-off between water and energy use in all cases. However, significant cost differences between centralised and decentralised schemes can be observed in a simple economic analysis. Further research will examine the possibility for deriving model up-scaling algorithms to reduce computational requirements.

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ID Code: 74981
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: water and energy modelling, water treatment, mining, water and energy tradeoffs, resources regions
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Management (050205)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > RESOURCES ENGINEERING AND EXTRACTIVE METALLURGY (091400) > Mining Engineering (091405)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Environment and Resource Economics (140205)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Funding:
  • ACARP/C21033
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 11 Aug 2014 22:34
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2014 05:59

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