Design And Construction Of A Cut-Off Wall In Warm Permafrost

Anderson, Steven L.
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2010
A cut-off wall has been designed and is currently under construction along the Back Dam of the existing tailings impoundment at Red Dog Mine, Alaska. The cut-off wall, which will be in the order of 5,000 ft long and up to 150 ft deep, when complete, is being excavated using a 40 metric ton Bauer trench cutter head mounted on a Liebherr crawler crane, in combination with a closed loop slurry pumping and de-sanding system. The tailings impoundment is situated in an area of warm permafrost and high potential seismic activity. Design incorporated an assessment of rock jointing to define the final depth of the wall along the alignment requiring the use of plastic concrete backfill to address the concerns associated with potential cracking of the wall due to settlement and during seismic activity. The results of the geotechnical investigation program, particularly with respect to variation in rock hardness along the wall alignment are discussed, as are the design criteria for the plastic concrete backfill, the challenges faced during construction, including scheduling of the work with the on-going dam raise activities of the mine, and the lessons learned with respect to potential productivities and selection of cutter wheels and teeth. Also described are the requirements for and advantages of utilizing a slurry boosting system to meet pumping requirements, re-design of the plastic concrete mix to consider workability and optimization of cutter teeth configurations to reduce wear through highly varied rock hardness.
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