HYDROGEOTECHNICAL BEHAVIOR OF FIELD EXPERIMENTAL CELLS USED TO SIMULATE CCBEs

World Mining Congress
Field experimental cells were constructed in 2007 to assess the performance of different cover scenarios for the reclamation of the Parc 1 tailings disposal facility at the Westwood-Doyon Mine site (Abitibi, Quebec). Three configurations of cover with capillary barrier effects (CCBEs) with different thicknesses and material types for the moisture retention layer (MRL) were studied. MRL with 80 cm till, 40 cm till, and 40 cm clayey silt were used for cell nos. 2, 3, and 5, respectively. The capillary barrier layer (CBL) and drainage and protection layer (DPL) of the CCBE consisted of 30 cm gravel. A reference cell without cover was also constructed to compare the geochemical performance of the CCBEs. Due to an unexpected flooding in the leachate exit area of the cells in spring 2008, the cell instrumentation for hydrogeotechnical monitoring was postponed to spring 2009. Changes with time in volumetric water content, suction, soil oxygen concentration, and temperature were measured at different depths. This paper presents and discusses preliminary results obtained from spring 2009 to autumn 2010. In all cases, the degree of saturation Sr is lower in the CBL than in the MRL, indicating the presence of capillary barrier effects at the interface of these layers. Cell nos. 2 and 5 showed hydrogeotechnical behavior typical of an effective CCBE, with Sr maintained above 85% in the MRL and lower than 30–50% in the DPL and CBL. Based on the obtained results, and as expected, MRL thickness and the type of construction material used appear to affect the hydrogeotechnical behavior of the CCBE. Oxygen concentration profiles through the CCBEs were used to estimate the oxygen flux, and results indicate that cell nos. 2 and 3 performed better than cell no. 3. CCBE performance is currently being investigated using the geochemical monitoring data.
Keywords: Oxygen; Waters; Water; tailings; Concentration; Materials; Temperature; Profiles; Soil; Soils;
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