A NOVEL APPROACH TO ANALYZE WATER FLOW IN WASTE ROCK PILES TO ASSESS SLOPE STABILITY AND GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION

World Mining Congress
Waste rock piles (WRP) are made of heterogeneous, coarse grained waste rock, with inclined layers due to segregation along the slopes and haul traffic compacted layers, creating highly contrasted hydrogeological conditions. The internal structure of the pile has a major impact on water and oxygen movement and pore water pressure distribution. In the presence of reactive minerals, this influences the production of acid mine drainage (AMD) or contaminated neutral drainage (CND) with metal leaching from the WRP. Water flow and distribution may also affect slope stability, particularly following major infiltration events (rain/snow melts).The prediction and interpretation of water distribution in WRP is a challenging problem. Numerous numerical investigations of short and long term forecasts have been conducted, and many of these were found of limited reliability. The shortcomings of existing approaches are typically due to difficulties in representing preferential flow processes in macropores. Such phenomena are in fact often neglected in the assessment of water flow in WRP because these are unattainable with the classical porous media approach typically used in this field. This paper focuses on the use of modeling techniques originally designed for massive fractured rock media to simulate flow in WRP.
Keywords: Waste rock; flow; Materials; Distribution; Water; Waters; Model; Models; Water flow; Water flows;
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