Upstream Raising of Tailings Dams - Engineered Structures of Castles in the Air?

Williams P A,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
Tailings dams constructed by the upstream method have traditionally been built using the sand fraction of the tailings, which has automatically provided a relatively permeable embankment material, and helped provide the necessary drainage conditions which are a pre-requisite for safe and stable dam construction using this method. This paper discusses some recent trends which have resulted in proposals to use impermeable material in place of the sand fraction as the embankment material, both for the starter dam, and subsequent lifts. The consequences of these types of decisions on the overall stability of the dam are illustrated, and the need for continued monitoring of pore pressures in the tailings as the dam is raised is emphasised.
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