Tailings and Mine Waste Conference

Determination of consolidation properties, selection of computational methods, and estimation of potential error in Mine Tailings settlement calculations Geier, David; Gjerapic, Gordan; Morrison, Kimberly


Accurate estimates of tailings density and settlement are critical for successful design, operation, and closure of tailings storage facilities (TSFs). Limitations of the computational methods employed to determine these quantities are often overlooked, leading to inaccurate results and potentially inadequate engineering designs. This paper provides a brief discussion of the methods that are commonly used to model tailings consolidation, discusses relative accuracy of these methods, and outlines common pitfalls encountered in their use. Engineering estimates of the commonly encountered errors are presented for selected methods. Applicability of various methods and specific recommendations are discussed with regard to TSF geometries, tailings properties, filling rates, and the calculation accuracy requirements. The present study compares traditional small strain and large-strain consolidation analyses, and evaluates differences between one-dimensional and three-dimensional calculation approaches. Also, a comparison between estimated (calculated) and actual tailings densities (based on mill production data and bathymetric surveys) is provided for an existing operational tailings facility.[All papers were considered for technical and language appropriateness by the organizing committee.]

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