Authors: Mooder, RB; McGreevy, JTG

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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: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 101-112,

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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

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