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Tailings facility designs can save water at mines

At the start of the design process, the design problem and solution have to be conceptualised to allow for the design objectives for a tailings facility to be formulated. A range of techniques can then be used and applied to undertake the design, including appropriate analyses, to ensure water saving at mines, says consulting engineers and scientists SRK Consulting South Africa principal civil geotechnical engineer Adriaan Meintjes.

Meintjes adds that, in the past decade and following a series of significant, recent tailings storage facility (TSF) failures worldwide, mining houses, consulting engineers and TSF contractors have refocused on new best-practice principles for the design of tailings dams.

These incorporate extending and expanding appropriate techniques for the design of these facilities and include laboratory and field testing to obtain relevant suites of parameters for use in stability and seepage analyses, as well as stress and deformation related suites of geotechnical parameters where relevant.

Also included are total stress and effective stress slope stability analyses linked to the projected rate of the rise of the TSFs and waste structures, seismic and dynamic stability analyses, static liquefaction analyses and, where relevant, progressive failure analyses. Specific design and analysis considerations for the full life-cycle behaviour of these structures should also be taken into account.

Author: Adriaan Meintjes | Partner | Principal Civil Geotechnical Engineer

Article: Mining Weekly | Tailings facility design can save water at mines



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