Tailings and Mine Waste Conference

Characterization and selection of waste rock borrow material for use as rock armor to reduce tailing impoundment side-slope erosion Milczarek, Michael; Keller, Jason; Hawthorne, Tim; Rogers, Scott; Litle, Robert; Klempel, Tom; Rice, Robert C.; Grabau, Matthew; Buchanan, Margaret


A waste rock characterization effort was designed and implemented to identify favorable waste rock borrow material for use as rock armor on a tailing impoundment side-slope reclamation project. The following criteria were applied: 1) sufficient volumes of material; 2) particle size distributions with greater than 50% of the material larger than 12.5-mm particle diameter; 3) acid-base accounting showing positive net neutralization potential; and 4) sufficient nutrient levels and minimal potentially phytotoxic elements to facilitate revegetation. In addition, a field-scale erosion test designed to simulate a 100-year, 24-hour storm event was conducted to determine the efficacy of the selected rock material and of selected ripping treatments in controlling erosion. Two generally non-acid generating and erosion resistant mine-waste rock types were found: argillite and arkose material. Within the potential source areas, evidence of oxidation (yellowish-red staining) was a good predictor of net acid -generating material and used as exclusion criteria. Argillite was used as rock armor on short slopes and the coarser arkose material for slope-lengths greater than 90-meters.[All papers were considered for technical and language appropriateness by the organizing committee.]

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