AFRY Ecolego in the Mining industry
Do you know about AFRY Ecolego and that it is actively being used in the mining industry?
EcoBalance and EcoMine models have been developed in Ecolego for application in the mining industry.
AFRY’s Ecolego® is a powerful and flexible software for creating dynamic and complex process models, capable of performing deterministic and probabilistic simulations. Ecolego has primarily been used for conducting risk assessments of complex dynamic systems evolving over time, with specialized databases and other add-ons designed for the field of radiological risk assessment. Ecolego has a proven track record as one of the leading process and systems models in nuclear waste disposal simulations.
The software is created with a user-friendly interface. It uses the compartmental modelling approach to represent the transient transfer of water / radionuclides / contaminants, or matter of any kind, through the modelled system. The number of these materials, as well as any other dimensions, is unlimited. Models created in Ecolego consist of connections made between smaller system components (called sub-systems). Each of these sub-systems makes a representation of some process, or a part of a process, that is an integral part of the total system.
Deterministic and probabilistic simulation software modules for the Mining industry
EcoBalance and EcoMine models have been developed in Ecolego, specifically for application within the mining industry. EcoBalance integrates mine water balance and mass load modelling into one functioning system. The main purpose of EcoMine is to integrate the air quality modelling results with radioecological and dose assessment calculations to quantify the integrated spatial distribution of the radiological impact of the atmospheric pathway induced by a mining operation consisting of multiple sources.
Both models can be easily adapted to reflect site specific mining conditions, and have been used successfully within their specific areas of application, in multiple projects. The models themselves can be saved as libraries, and developed for future projects. The following text describes them with more detail.
EcoBalance represents the transient transfer of water through the natural and mining environment. The figure below shows the modelling view in Ecolego. The integrated system approach provides valuable outputs from the results, and it contributes significantly to value engineering in a mining project by means of risk-cost-benefit optimisation.
It allows for easy construction of a site-specific and integrated dynamic mine water balance. Salt and chemical constituent mass load and transport modelling are also allowed as an integrated and dynamically linked option with the ability to simulate multiple species at the same time. Basic mining related libraries were developed to accommodate mining components such as open pit and underground mines, metallurgical processing plants, tailings storage facilities, reservoirs (e.g., return water, process water or storm water dams) and stockpile facilities such as waste rock dumps – each component with balance checks.
As an example, below is a schematic representation of the main mine water balance flow components, and interactions diagram, for a mine in Southern Africa, where EcoBalance was implemented and applied for site wide water and salt load balance modelling. The model could be applied to an integrated open pit and underground linked project.
Mining operations and activities are often associated with a radiological impact to the public from naturally occurring radionuclides present in the residual material (referred to as NORM).
The main purpose of EcoMine is to integrate the air quality modelling results consisting of inhalable particulates (e.g., PM₁₀) or gasses (e.g., Radon gas) and the Total Suspended Particles (TSP) deposited in the environment with radioecological and dose assessment calculations to quantify the integrated spatial distribution of the radiological impact of the atmospheric pathway induced by a mining operation consisting of multiple sources (e.g., tailings storage facilities, open pits, waste rock dumps, or ventilations shafts).
EcoMine uses the Radon gas and PM₁₀ concentrations, as well as the TSP dust deposition rates obtained for each source associated with a mining operation, as input data to calculate doses associated with different public exposure conditions (e.g., subsistence farming, commercial agriculture, urban settlement) by calculating the contribution from the different exposure routes (e.g., inhalation, ingestion, and external gamma radiation). The results are obtained for a grid of points in the impacted area that can be seamlessly exported to maps of the radiological impact from all sources and for each particular public exposure condition (see the high-level structure of EcoMine as implemented in Ecolego below).
Amongst other things, the output from this model provides information about the radiation dose for each exposure route (for each radionuclide defined in the model, for each source and at each grid point), total dose as a sum of all radionuclides (for each source and at each grid point) as well as total dose as a sum of all radionuclides and sources (for each exposure condition, at each grid point).
Where do I find the models?
A simplified example of an EcoBalance model for the mine water balance flow components and interactions diagram shown below can be found by clicking on this link, and you can open it by downloading a free 30 day trial Ecolego license (with all toolboxes).