Niobec is a mine located in St-Honoré in Saguenay – Lac-St-Jean (Quebec) that produces Niobium. Since January 2015, it is owned by Magris Resources. Niobec mine has been in operation for several years and the ore is drawn off via underground tunnels. At the time of the project, IAMGOLD wanted to change the mining method to a block caving to improve productivity.
The intervention of the Hydro Resources firm was the analysis of hydrogeological impact of the change of mining method on the environment and operations. Thus, the analysis was used to assess the amount of additional water that could potentially leak into the mine during the fracturing of the walls. A major component of the project was to plan dewatering before the caving. Indeed, hydrogeology in this kind of project is of paramount importance and an unplanned water inflow during the fracturing of the rock could cause significant economic loss and even loss of lives.
Hydro-Resources was especially involved in the numerical modeling aspect with the FEFLOW software. Also our firm conducted tests with packer to validate changes in fracturing with depth. Finally, the profile tracer tests were conducted to verify the test results with packer. Limestone, located in the top of the deposit, and the top of the carbonatite are the main aspects analyzed in this project.