Application Of Best Available Technology To Reclamation Design And Integration With Mine Planning ? Introduction ? Preprint 09-085

Hutson, H. J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 13
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2009
BRS, Inc. has utilized Carlson's Natural RegradeTM software to design the reclamation and stabilization of abandoned open pit uranium mine spoils, AML Project 16N, located in the Gas Hills Uranium District in central Wyoming. This work was completed for the State of Wyoming's Abandoned Mine Land Program (AML) on preSMCRA (Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act) sites for which no reclamation obligation existed. The project successfully stabilized an eroding spoil dump, enhanced the local view shed, created habitat diversity and provided a significant source of fill material for open pit highwall hazard mitigation efforts. Additionally, the project served to evaluate innovative reclamation design methods, engineering software and grade control technology. This project was nominated for a National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs award by the State of Wyoming. The results of this project will be presented as a case history of the Natural RegradeTM approach to surface mine reclamation. Based on the successful application of this new mine reclamation technology on the AML 16N Project, reclamation designs for spoils associated with planned underground uranium mine operations at the Velvet Mine in the Lisbon Valley Uranium District of Utah for Uranium One USA, Inc have been prepared and will be presented. Critical elements will be the encapsulation of unsuitable materials, long term hydrologic stability, and sequencing and staging of ore and mine waste for final reclamation surface construction. The goal of the Uranium One Velvet Project will be to apply best available technology to reclamation planning and fully integrate the reclamation design with the mine planning. Benefits of the approach should include improved public and regulatory perception of the project, facilitate mine permit approvals and the eventual timely release of reclamation bonds, as it is anticipated the stable landform created through this process will result in more rapid stabilization of the site to pre-mine geomorphic conditions. NATURAL REGRADETM CASE STUDY AML Project 16N, D-9 and K Pit Reclamation Project, is located in an intensely disturbed area of the West Gas Hills Uranium Mining District in Fremont County, Wyoming. The overall design calls for the placement of approximately 7 million cubic yards of backfill materials in the D9 and K Pits, imported from adjacent mine spoils including the Central Spoils, and from local highwall excavation. Figure 1 shows the location of the Central Spoils excavation area, as well as the D9 and K Pits fill area. The entire project is located on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Lander, Wyoming District Office. No access controls are in place at the abandoned mine sites. The public lands are administered under a multiple use land policy including grazing of range land, public recreation, active mining and exploration, and oil and gas. The project site is located along Fremont County Road No. 5, which is a moderately well traveled road. Reclamation of the numerous and large abandoned open pits in the Gas Hills Uranium District has reduced the risk of death or injury to the public. Site History and Background The Gas Hills Uranium District was mined by multiple companies during the period from 1955 to 1981. The uranium was hosted in the Wind River formation, a sequence of soft sedimentary layers of interbedded sandstone, clayey shales, and conglomerates. Uranium was precipitated out of ground water in classic roll front deposits, which are found from very near surface to depths greater than 400 feet. Prior to the enactment of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA), very little reclamation work was performed when mines were abandoned or closed. The State of Wyoming Abandoned Mine Lands Program has worked to mitigate hazards associated with large open pits, control migration of unsuitable materials and restore watershed functionality of lands in the district. Additional reclamation is being performed by mining companies on bonded lands. Figure 2, Gas Hills Uranium District aerial photograph, shows the extent of the mining disturbance in the district. [ ] Project Hazards and Concerns The purpose of AML Project 16N is to mitigate hazardous conditions and risk to the public associated with open pit highwalls and toxic, acid forming, and /or radioactive mine waste materials. The D9 and K Pits are contiguous open pits characterized by an 8,800 foot long hazardous highwall that averages over 200 feet tall. In addition to the physical hazard presented by the highwall, the project addresses
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