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Hydrologic evaluation of post-closure flooding and dewatering of the Homestake Mine

Mining Engineering , 2010, Vol. 62, No. 4, pp. 64-64

Zhan, G.; Deux, T.


The Homestake Mine included the open cut and underground workings up to 2,484 m (8,150 ft) deep. The mine ceased mining activities in December 2001 after 125 years of operation. Pumping from the underground workings continued for 18 more months until June 10, 2003. Homestake had completed a comprehensive hydrologic evaluation on post-closure underground flooding prior to the shutdown of pumping.

After closure, the mine was selected by the National Science Foundation as the site for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). An interim laboratory facility will be set at the 1478 m (4850 ft) Level. The final facility will be set at the 2256 m (7400 ft) Level or deeper. Pumping from the underground workings began on June 5, 2008 by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA). During the period of June 2008 through March 2009, the pumping rate increased from 41 L/s (650 gpm) to 81 L/s (1,290 gpm) with an average rate of 60 L/s (950 gpm). As a result, the water level had been lowered more than 95 m (310 ft).

It was found that the observed rebound and later decline to date is in close agreement with the model projections. Because of this, the authors of this paper reject claims of a lack of sufficient measurement devices in place and a lack of understanding of the hydrologic system at the Homestake Mine prior to shutdown of pumping in 2003 (Davis et al, 2009). Furthermore, it is believed that this validated model can serve as a useful tool for the SDSTA to manage future underground dewatering for the DUSEL operation. This paper evaluates the hydrologic conditions in the Homestake Mine area and projects the post-closure groundwater rebound and decline due to DUSEL pumping.