I read an interesting article in the Mining Magazine May 2015 edition called “Top 10 Technologies”. One of the new technologies that jumped out at me is the capability to directionally drill open pit dewatering wells. This is an oil field technology from Schlumberger Water Services that was going to be applied to mining.
One of my past roles was engineering for the Diavik diamond mine in northern Canada. The granitic rock mass was geotechnically very competent with a limited amount of jointing and fracturing.
Groundwater seepage from a partly permafrost pit wall could create a host of operational problems in winter. Most of the groundwater flows were predicted to be along a few main structures or along single open joints.
Generally these structures were near vertical, which created a problem when trying to intercept them with vertically drilled pumping wells. Either you hit one or you didn’t.
The use of directional drilling of pumping wells is a great innovation