British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

The characterization of hydrologic properties and moisture migration pathways of a waste rock pile Herasymuik, G. M.; Wilson, G. Ward; Barbour, S. Lee; Smith, Troy


A multiphase research program has been initiated on a large waste rock pile which has undergone partial excavation. The focus of the research is to define the distribution of moisture migration pathways in the waste rock and to develop a conceptual model of the heat and mass transfer processes within the pile. The first phase of the research program was conducted simultaneously with the excavation process. This phase included a field logging and sampling program of exposed waste rock from numerous test pits. The test pits were excavated along predetermined transect lines established on the benches of the waste rock pile which were exposed during the excavation process. Phase I included visually logging the exposed rock and insitu measurements of matric suction, temperature, relative humidity and water content. Samples of each waste rock unit described in phase I were obtained for further analysis. The second phase of research includes a laboratory testing program to determine saturated and unsaturated hydraulic and thermal properties of the rock. The properties being measured include grainsize, porosity, moisture retention characteristics, saturated hydraulic and thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity. In summary this paper outlines the research program to date and discusses the initial findings of the field program.

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