Mundle, CAG & Chapman, PJ 2010, 'Selection of parameters for semi-arid tailings storage facility design', 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. 361-374.
During the initial stage of tailings storage facility design, the selection of appropriate design parameters is
paramount. In Western Australia, three key parameters that are typically unknown at the design stage and
directly influence the design, and hence cost, of the tailings storage facility are: the beach slope that is likely
to form in the field, the rate of rise at which the tailings can be placed, and the dry density that the tailings
solids will achieve. This paper addresses two of these parameters, using the results of specialist test work
that can be carried out at bench scale with approximately 50 kg of tailings solids to predict design
parameters in the absence of site-specific field data.
A summary of two cases studies is presented in which specialist tailings test work is used to predict the dry
density during a typical tailings cycle, including deposition, settling, air-drying (evaporative desiccation)
and consolidation. The two case studies represent tailings that display markedly different behaviour, which
significantly impacts the costs associated with tailings management. This paper also presents the outcomes
of a spreadsheet model, in which the data collected during the laboratory testing stage is used to more
accurately predict the maximum rate of rise at which the tailings can be placed. This parameter is of
significance as the rate of rise is typically limited to the rate at which sufficient evaporative desiccation
occurs to allow wall raise construction to be carried out in the upstream direction, using tailings borrowed
from the beach. A summary of the tests carried out and a convenient way of summarising the results are also
Australian Standard (AS) (1998) Determination of the one-dimensional consolidation properties of a soil,
Das, B.M. (2006) Principles of Geotechnical Engineering, 6th Edition, Thomas Canada Limited, 303 p.
Morris, P.H. and Williams, D.J. (1999) World Wide Correlations for Subaerial Aqueous Flows with Exponential
Longitudinal Profiles, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 24, pp. 867–879.
Vick, S.G. (1990) Planning, Design, and Analysis of Tailings Dams, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 42–44, 45–47, 71–74,