British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The application of in-situ technology in reclamation and decommissioning plans for tailings impoundments Boyd, Timothy John; Davies, Michael Paul, 1961-; Woeller, David J.; Weemees, Ilmar Andrew, 1964-


Prior to the decommissioning and reclamation of tailings impoundments it is critical to adequately characterize the geotechnical, hydrogeological, and geochemical nature of tailings. Important advances in the capability of in-situ testing for characterizing tailings impoundments have included the development of the resistivity piezocone and improved water sampling technologies. The standard piezocone is an excellent means of logging stratigraphy for most soils and also gives accurate estimates of key physical and hydrogeological parameters. The resistivity piezocone includes a geophysical module, which resides directly behind the standard piezocone during testing, which permits assessment of groundwater quality through the measurement of the bulk resistivity of the soil and the pore water. In addition, recently developed in-situ discrete groundwater sampling systems can be used to augment the bulk resistivity measurements and facilitate site-specific correlations with selected water quality parameters. This paper presents an overview of the resistivity piezocone and improved water sampling technologies and provides a summary of field testing programs carried out at large sulphide tailings impoundments at three Canadian mines. Test results are presented with respect to environmental and geotechnical aspects of sulphide tailings characterization.

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