Geotechnical Test Methods for Paste-on-Surface deposition Facilities

Symposium Rouyn-Noranda 2002
Abstract Surface deposited tailings in paste form offers potential environmental and financial advantages as compared to alternative surface disposal methods. However, these advantages will only be fully realized if care is taken to adequately characterize the depositional and geotechnical properties of the paste, using both laboratory testing and field monitoring techniques. Laboratory tests are described that enable the site to be engineered with the appropriate geometry (footprint and slopes) and paste strength. These tests encompass: basic material characterization; the rheological, wetting and drying, and static and dynamic geotechnical characteristics of the paste; and the potential for surface cracking, erosion, and dusting of the paste stack. Field monitoring methods, ranging from observational checklists to sophisticated instrumentation, are given so that operating engineers can optimize the depositional infrastructure (paste plant, transportation network, and stacking system), with the aim of constructing an as-built facility that meets or exceeds geotechnical design expectations. The testing and monitoring methods are also considered in the context of the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities, so that operations can suitably demonstrate their commitment to an effective paste-on-surface deposition facility.
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