The use of rock drains in surface mine waste dumps

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 83, No. 942, 1990
B.M. Das, CANMET/Coal Research Laboratories, Devon, Alberta, F. Claridge, Piteau Engineering Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, and V.K. Garga, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
Abstract Coal, as well as a large part of other minerals in Canada, is produced by surface mining methods. This has resulted in short-and long-term accumulation of waste rock in dumps. Two main problems arise from the flow of water through these dumps: stability of dumps and the impact on stream flows. In recent years, a number of mines have started placing waste rock in valleys for general disposal or for constructing mine access roadways. All these have created challenges in the following areas: effective design of dumps and flow-through dams; stability monitoring of the structures; environmental impacts downstream by way of increased amount of fines in suspension, sedimentation, and toxic substances; and long-term status of flow and flood. Similar situations also exist in many civil engineering structures. This paper discusses the status of rock drains and the immediate and future research needs.
Keywords: Surface mining, Rock drains, Open pit mining.
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