Review of Trailings Dam Design and Construction Techniques in North America

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
There are many factors influencing the way in which a mining company disposes of tailings. Some of the more important factors include physical and chemical properties of tailings, cost, availability of dam wall construction materials, type of mining operation, topography and environmental constraints. As a result, the mining industry has seen a diverse and innovative range of disposal methods developed to satisfy the many conditions imposed at tailings disposal sites. This paper discusses a range of tailings disposal methods currently practiced in the mining industries in North America. These methods include various inpit disposal techniques, upstream, downstream and centreline dam construction and zoned earthfill or rockfill embankment construction. The thickened tailings disposal method and the disposal of fine clays are discussed. The importance of improving the depositional properties of tailings to enhance storage capacity, water reclaim, dam wall stability and final reclamation is stressed. It is important that mining companies are made aware of the full range of disposal methods and dam construction techniques available today. Such an awareness will help improve the planning, design and construction of safer and more efficient tailings disposal facilities in the future.
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