Rio Tinto – IOC

The mine of the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), owned by Rio Tinto, is located in Labrador area (NF). The open pit mine is ongoing for several years now. The picture below illustrate a recent view of one of the open pits.

Rio Tinto is having problems with water infiltrations since 2005. The permeability of the roc is quite high in some locations, and important groundwater flows increase complexity and mining delay. Other locations also have lower permeability showing pore pressure issues.

During 2014 and 2015, our company worked with Rio Tinto, trying to localise the flow zones. We used the recent developed approach, and carried out several profile tracer tests to identify the main contrasting flow zones in NQ drilled holes. Moreover, several velocity flow profile, using an electromagnetic flowmeter were done in the same holes. These complementary tests allow to assess long term reaction of pumping and help designing wells for cost optimisation.

Results were impressive, and the most permeable feature was identified SE of the main pit. A recent dewatering well has been drilled, showing capacity of more than 10 000 usgpm.