What is the purpose of dewatering?

Dewatering is a crucial process in mining operations, and its primary purpose is to remove excess water from mining sites. This is essential for various reasons:

Stability of Excavations: Excess water in mining excavations can lead to instability of the surrounding rock or soil. Dewatering Screen helps maintain the structural integrity of open pits, underground mines, and other mining-related structures by reducing the water content in the surrounding material.

Safety: Water accumulation in mining areas can pose safety risks such as slope failures, rockfalls, and flooding. By controlling and removing water, mining operations can create a safer working environment for miners and prevent accidents.

Efficient Mining Operations: Excess water hinders the efficiency of mining operations. It can interfere with drilling, blasting, and transportation of minerals. Dewatering ensures that mining machinery and equipment can operate optimally without being hindered by water-related challenges.

Mineral Recovery: In some cases, minerals are more easily separated from the ore when the material is dewatered. This can improve the efficiency of mineral processing and increase the overall recovery of valuable minerals from the ore.

Environmental Compliance: Mining activities often produce water containing minerals and other substances that may be harmful to the environment. Dewatering helps manage and control the quality of water discharges from the mining site, ensuring compliance with environmental regulations and minimizing the impact on surrounding ecosystems.

Land Reclamation: Dewatering is often a necessary step in land reclamation efforts after mining activities are completed. By removing excess water, the land can be prepared for rehabilitation and re-vegetation.

Mining operations use several methods for dewatering to control and remove excess water from excavation sites. The choice of dewatering method depends on factors such as the geological and hydrogeological characteristics of the site, the depth of the excavation, and the volume of water to be managed. Here are some common methods of dewatering in mining operations:

1.Open Sump Pumping:

In open pit mining, sump pumping involves collecting water in designated sumps or low points and using pumps to remove the water from the pit.

2.Wellpoint Systems:

Wellpoint dewatering involves installing a series of closely spaced wells, known as wellpoints, around the excavation site. These wells are connected to a common header pipe and a vacuum pump. The vacuum created lowers the water table, allowing water to be drawn into the wellpoints and then pumped away.

3.Deep Wells:

Deep wells are drilled to intercept and lower the water table in deeper mining excavations. These wells are equipped with pumps that draw water from the deeper aquifers.

4.Horizontal Drains:

Horizontal drains are installed horizontally into the ground to intercept and drain water from specific geological layers. These drains can be combined with wellpoints or deep wells to enhance dewatering efficiency.

5.In-Pit Sumping:

In-pit sumping involves excavating pits within the main mining pit to collect and concentrate water. Pumps are then used to remove the water from these sumps.

6.Submersible Pumps:

Submersible pumps are placed directly into the water to pump it to the surface. These pumps are often used in underground mining operations and can be installed in sumps or directly in the mine workings.

7.Ditches and Drainage Channels:

Open channels or ditches can be excavated to direct surface water away from the mining area. This method is particularly useful for managing rainfall and runoff.

8.Geotextile Tubes or Bags:

Geotextile tubes or bags filled with sediment can be used to dewater slurry or sediment-laden water. As water passes through the permeable fabric, solids are retained, and clearer water is discharged.

9.Gravity Drainage:

Gravity drainage relies on the natural slope of the terrain to allow water to flow away from the mining site. This method is often used in conjunction with other dewatering techniques.

In mining operations, various types of equipment are used for dehydration, which involves removing water or moisture from minerals, slurry, or other materials. The choice of equipment depends on factors such as the nature of the material, the required level of dehydration, and the scale of the mining operation. Here are some common types of dehydration equipment used in mining:


Thickeners are used to increase the concentration of solids in a slurry by settling suspended particles. This helps in separating solids from water, resulting in a thicker slurry that can be easier to handle and transport.

2.Filter Presses:

Filter presses are used to dewater slurry by applying pressure to the slurry within filter chambers. The water is forced out, leaving the solids behind. Filter presses are effective for producing a cake of dewatered material.


Centrifuges use centrifugal force to separate solids from liquids. In mining, they can be employed to dewater fine particles or slurries by spinning the material, causing the heavier solids to move outward while the liquid is discharged.

4.Belt Filters:

Belt filters consist of a continuous, porous belt that passes over a series of rollers. As the slurry passes through the belt, water is drained, and the solids are left behind as a filter cake.

5.Vacuum Filters:

Vacuum filters operate by creating a pressure differential to draw water through a filter medium, leaving behind a dewatered product. They are commonly used for fine particle separation.

6.Drying Beds:

Drying beds involve spreading the material in a thin layer on a large surface area to allow natural evaporation and drainage. This method is often used for dewatering sludges or fine-grained materials.


Evaporators use heat to vaporize water from a liquid, leaving behind a more concentrated solution. While not as common in mining, evaporators can be employed for specific applications.

8.Decanter Centrifuges:

Decanter centrifuges are similar to regular centrifuges but are specifically designed for continuous separation and dewatering of solids from liquids. They are commonly used in the mining industry for various applications.


Dryers are used to remove moisture from solid materials by applying heat. Rotary dryers, fluidized bed dryers, and other types of dryers can be employed based on the characteristics of the material being processed.

10.Screw Presses:

Screw presses use a rotating screw to apply pressure to a material, squeezing out the water. They are used for dewatering various types of sludges and slurries.

There are various dewatering methods employed in mining, including the use of pumps, drainage systems, and wells to lower the water table and control water ingress into excavations. The specific dewatering approach depends on the geological and hydrogeological conditions of the mining site.

Umair Akram

Umair Akram

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