UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Modeling of predicted performance of the desulphurized tailings cover at the detour lake mine Mukundane , Micheal


The problem of Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) remains a critical environmental issue associated with mining in Canada, as well as globally. Some untreated mine tailings can produce acids that percolate into ground water resources endangering aquatic environments and communities. Responsible mining practice requirements fuel the quest to understand, control and prevent ARD to assure sustainable mining. ARD results from sulphide mineral oxidation and still poses a significant challenge to all stakeholders in mining operations. Numerical modeling is powerful when utilized to enable performance evaluation of covers and enhances the ability to predict parameters that are responsible for ARD generation. The Verification of numerical models is critical to substantiating accuracy and it contributes to the model development process. The model assists in evaluating the measures in place to control ARD by predicting the parameters that are considered critical to understanding ARD. This research intends to verify the VADOSE/W model currently used in the industry to predict the performance of soil covers and its abilities to predict parameters that are critical to ARD generation and management in mine tailings. The hypothesis is whether the VADOSE/W model is able to predict the same published results as the finite difference model. The finite difference model simulation results used to verify the VADOSE/W model were previously verified through comparisons to a closed form solution, POLLUTE solution, and measured oxygen profiles from a column experiment. It is important to note that the VADOSE/W is widely used in mining industry and research as well has never been adequately tested. Agreement between both results would contribute to verification of the VADOSE/W model. It would also ascertain practicality and functionality thus minimizing costs associated with trial and error methods as well as improving implementation time and knowledge constraints with regard to ARD control and prevention. Findings indicate agreement between the results of the VADOSE/W model (precipitation, evaporation, saturated water content, run off, infiltration, oxygen diffusion) and published results computed by the finite difference model. This point to the successful potential abilities of the VADOSE/W model, to predict critical parameters in preventing and controlling ARD.

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