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A reliable and representative testing procedure is required to characterise shrinkage phenomena in paste
tailings exposed to surface conditions. Existing methods to obtain the shrinkage curve have been developed
mainly for clayey soils. These methods are not entirely adequate for cohesionless, low plasticity tailings. The
testing procedure presented in this paper involves measurements on elongated tailing specimens that are
free to contract. The method described here is easily repeatable and enables progressive measurement of the
relatively small changes in the sample volume during the drying process. Testing results obtained on
Bulyanhulu paste tailings are shown and compared with those obtained from pressure plate testing.
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