The Frieda River Project is a large open cut copper-gold project that is being developed by Frieda River Limited (owned by PanAust) on behalf of a joint venture between Frieda River Limited and Highlands Frieda Limited. As part of the EIS, AGE completed a Regional Groundwater Assessment, including field investigations, a conceptual hydrogeological model and development of a regional scale numerical groundwater flow model (MODFLOW-USG). Model results were used to estimate open pit seepage/inflows and assess the post closure behaviour and recovery of groundwater within the open pit and the integrated storage facility.
In addition to this, AGE assisted PanAust with open pit depressurisation and dewatering strategies for the project. This required close consultation with the geotechnical consultants, liaison and guidance on field activities, and the development of a 3D mine area groundwater flow model (MODFLOW-USG) to predict the effects of horizontal depressurisation hole drilling on the pore pressures within the open pit. The 3D flow representation provided a more accurate reflection of groundwater conditions and responses within the pit walls compared with typical 2D sectional models.
Subsequent to this work, AGE has been involved in a number of updates to the regional groundwater assessment and has gone on to complete further international works for PanAust. AGE provides PanAust with a trusted and experienced team of consultants who are able to provide innovative approaches to existing techniques.