British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Development of a global cover system design : technical guidance document O'Kane, Mike; Baisley, A.


The International Network for Acid Prevention (INAP) is an organization of international mining companies dedicated to reducing liabilities associated with sulphide mine materials. Liabilities associated with mine closure span the globe, occurring across a climate, hydrogeological and material spectrum. Cover systems are a practical tool in managing closure liability surrounding reactive wastes, and thus are required to perform under a gamut of site specific conditions. Previous guidance specifically addressed cover system design as it pertains to cold regions but to date, no further material exists as it specifically pertains to cover system design on a global scale. This paper describes the technical guidance approach for cover systems globally being developed by O’Kane Consultants Inc. (OKC) with the assistance of a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), funded through INAP. The focus is a conceptual filter framework philosophy used to rapidly refine cover system alternatives through a set of site specific filters, to more efficiently determine cover systems for further evaluation. Site specific filters employ the Köppen−Geiger climate classification system to incorporate seasonality into design. A process based approach is used through each refinement to better understand mechanisms and controls that can be exploited, enhanced and combined to achieve reductions in acidity generation and transport. The management of oxygen and net percolation based on each site specific filter is discussed in detail along with timing of reclamation and performance value. Evaluation of cover system performance and risk is not possible or complete without discussion of performance assessment period and design life. Existing guidance have briefly covered landform design, whereas this document highlights the importance of developing covers and landforms in concert. Furthermore, this guide advances cover system design of integrating the mine waste landform into the site wide water management strategy. The document’s second focus surrounds generic case studies and real case studies to further demonstrate the utility of the proposed framework.

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