Fitton, TG, Seddon, KD & Alexander, MG 2010, 'Geosynthetic capping of a large tailings storage facility', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on the Reduction of Risk in the Management of Tailings and Mine Waste
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 263-273.
The capping of a large tailings storage facility using geosynthetic material and rockfill is presented as a case
study. This paper focuses on a project to place a 13 metre thick capping layer over a 24 hectare, 40 metre
deep in-pit coal tailings storage facility (TSF) in the Hunter Valley, in eastern Australia. The coal tailings
stored in this mined out pit possess very low strength, and conventional attempts at capping have proven to
be unsuccessful due to stability failures of the tailings. A geosynthetic capping design was developed, in
which the entire surface of the tailings is to be covered in geosynthetic material that is anchored around the
perimeter of the TSF, enabling the careful placement of layers of fill material using lightweight earthmoving
equipment. Innovative methods of placement and joining of the geosynthetic material have been developed.
The methods of fill placement on the weak tailings have also been innovative, with the deployment of
unconventional machinery where most other earthmoving machines have been unable to work. This paper
presents an overview of this project, as well as some of the details of the solutions that have been developed.
Broms, B. (1987) Stabilization of Very Soft Clay using Geofabric, Geosynthetics and Geomembranes, Vol. 5,
Hashim, A. and Murphy, S.D. (1994) Capping of Sediment Deposition Pits at Albert Park Lake, Melbourne, Australia,
Journal of the Australian Geomechanics Society, Vol. 25, pp. 50–53.
Geosynthetic capping of a large tailings storage facility T.G. Fitton et al.
274 Mine Waste 2010, Perth, Australia