Tailings and Mine Waste Conference

Design, construction and operation of a large centerline tailing storage facility with high rate of rise Obermeyer, James; Alexieva, Tatyana


In 2004, Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde S.A.A. (SMCV) undertook final design and construction of the Primary Sulfide Project involving construction of a 108,000 metric tonnes per day (mtpd) concentrator at its Cerro Verde Copper Mine, located near Arequipa Peru. An important component of the project is the tailing storage facility (TSF) which was permitted as a centerline method tailing embankment with an ultimate height of 260 meters above the foundation at the centerline and 300 meters above the downstream toe. The Primary Sulfide Project was designed and constructed in a 24 month period and was commissioned in November 2006. The Cerro Verde Mine is located in a region of high seismicity dominated by earthquakes occurring along the Peru-Chile Subduction Zone, which has a history of producing very large earthquakes that could cause significant shaking at the TSF site. The TSF is positioned immediately downstream of the concentrator in drainage called Quebrada Enlozada. The Starter Dam for the TSF is an 85 meter high zoned rockfill embankment. The TSF embankment is raised above the starter dam crest using centerline method construction. Underflow sand that is produced by a two stage cycloning process is placed in 30 centimeter lifts and compacted. During the first four years of operation, the TSF embankment reached half of its ultimate height. A debottlenecking project was completed at the concentrator in 2010 to increase the concentrator throughput by 12,000 mtpd to its current capacity of 120,000 mtpd. This paper presents the design basis and criteria that were adopted for the Quebrada Enlozada TSF, provides a summary of the main design components, and discusses operation of the facility during the first 5 years of its projected 22 year life. Particular focus is placed on special considerations to accommodate the very high raise rates that were experienced in the initial years of TSF operations. The primary technical and operational challenges and the successful implementation of engineering and construction solutions are described.[All papers were considered for technical and language appropriateness by the organizing committee.]

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