Mooder, RB & McGreevy, JTG 2022, 'Toward integrated mining landform design: recent tailings project examples from Canada', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: 15th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 101-112, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2215_04
This paper explores the current state of integration between operational mining needs and post-closure legacy for mining landform design at operating mines. The exploration uncovers opportunities to efficiently integrate short-term and long-term considerations using tools already in common use, such as more rigorous closure planning and expanded landform design basis. Mining landforms include tailings storage facilities, stockpiles, waste rock dumps, open pits, drainage networks, and block cave craters. These landforms persist on the landscape long after mining ends. Mining landforms have historically been designed with a short-term operational focus to meet immediate mining needs. Reclamation and closure have historically been considered near the end of the operational life of the landform. Site-wide closure plans may lack the detail and rigour required to meaningfully contribute to operational landform designs, while site-specific experience gained during operations can inform better performing landform designs. Recent project experience in Canada with operational landform design across a variety of mining projects has revealed a spectrum of current practice. Closure plans at some mines exist primarily to meet regulatory submission requirements, while at others closure plans are more closely integrated with operational mine planning. The landform design process requires clearly stated performance objectives and design criteria to succeed. Short-term operational needs are typically well defined. Long-term post-closure needs may or may not be clearly defined in closure plans. Mine operators can maintain operational performance while improving long-term outcomes by more closely linking closure planning, mine planning, and landform design. This paper presents recent tailings storage area landform design project examples from different operating mines in Canada, with some key lessons learned and suggestions for more integrated mining landform design.
Keywords: closure, planning, integrated design, landforms, landform design, TSF design
Ansah-Sam, M, Hachey, L, McKenna, G & Mooder, B 2016, ‘The DBM approach for setting engineering design criteria for an oil sands mine closure plan’, Proceedings of the Fifth International Oil Sands Tailings Conference, University of Alberta Geotechnical Group, Edmonton.
Ansah-Sam, M, McGreevy, JTG & McKenna, G 2019, ‘Processes for the closure design of greenfield and brownfield overburden dump sites’, in J Goodwill, D Van Zyl & M Davies (eds), Proceedings of Tailings and Mine Waste 2019, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
CIRNAC 2018, History of Giant Mine, viewed 2 June 2022,
CIRNAC 2021, Faro Mine Remediation Project: Yukon, viewed 5 June 2022,
CLRA 2021, CLRA Ontario Chapter 2020 Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Industry Award Recipients, viewed 5 June 2022,
Cunning, J, Isifdoro, A, Apaz, C & Kinakin, C 2011, ‘Deposition planning at the Diavik Diamond Mine’, Proceedings of Tailings and Mine Waste 2011, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
GoldSim Technology Group 2021, GoldSim, version 14.0, computer software, GoldSim Technology Group 2021, Seattle, http://goldsim.com
Government of British Columbia 2012, Mines Honoured for Excellent Reclamation Practices, viewed 5 June 2022,
GWP Geo Software 2021, FSCONSOL, version 3, computer software, GWP Geo Software Inc., Edmonton, Canada, http://fsconsol.com
International Council on Mining and Metals 2019, Integrated Mine Closure: Good Practice Guide, 2nd edn, ICMM, London.
International Council on Mining and Metals 2020, Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, ICMM, London.
ICOLD 2013, Sustainable Design and Post-Closure Performance of Tailings Dams, bulletin 153, International Commission on Large Dams, Paris.
Ketilson, E & Treinen, J 2018, ‘The investigation of an alternative tailings deposition system for uranium tailings’, presentation, Saskatchewan Mining Associated Environmental Forum 2018.
Mackenzie Valley Review Board 2013, Report of Environmental Assessment and Reasons for Decision, Giant Mine Remediation Project, EA0809-001, viewed 2 June 2022,
McGreevy, JTG, Mooder, RB, McKenna, GT, & Ansah-Sam, M 2018, ‘From greenfields to the post-mining landscape: a planning approach to better mine closure’, Resources for Future Generations, Vancouver.
McKenna, G & Van Zyl, D 2020, ‘Closure and reclamation’, in B Oberle, D Brereton & A Mihaylova (eds), Towards Zero Harm: A Compendium of Papers Prepared for the Global Tailings Review, St Gallen, Switzerland: Global Tailings Review, pp. 109–125,
NRCAN nd, Sullivan Mine Closure and Reclamation, viewed 2 June 2022,
O’Hara, G 2007, ‘Water management aspects of the Britannia Mine Remediation Project, British Columbia, Canada’, Mine Water and the Environment, vol. 26, pp. 46–54.
Slingerland, NM 2019, Geomorphic Landform Design and Long-Term Assessment of Tailings Storage Facilities in the Athabasca Oil Sands, PhD thesis, University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Teck nd, About the Sullivan Mine, viewed 2 June 2022,