Geotechnical Engineering for Mine Waste Storage Facilities: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Geotechnical Engineering for Mine Waste Storage Facilities

1st Edition

By Geoffrey E. Blight

CRC Press

652 pages

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Hardback: 9780415468282
pub: 2009-11-16
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The book is a comprehensive treatment of the application of geotechnical engineering to site selection, site exploration, design, operation and closure of mine waste storage facilities.

The level and content are suitable as a technical source and reference for practising engineers engaged both in the design and operational management of mine waste storage facilities and for senior undergraduate and postgraduate students. The thirteen chapters follow the sequence of the life cycle of a waste storage facility (characterization, site selection, geotechnical exploration, environmental aspects, testing and compaction) and also consider the use of mine waste as a construction material.

The text is liberally illustrated by both line drawings and photographs, and the theoretical passages are supported by typical test results, worked examples and carefully analysed case histories.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Waste Engineering, Characteristics of Mine Wastes and Types of Waste Storage

  • The nature and magnitude of the mine waste storage activity
  • Origins and quantities of mine waste
  • The effects of climate
  • Waste characteristics
  • Principles of mine waste management
  • Types of mine waste storage
  • Philosophy and arrangement of this book

Chapter 2: Selection of a Site for Storage of Mine Waste

  • Procedure for site selection
  • Preliminary assessment of required size of site
  • Possible fatal flaws in candidate sites
  • Seeking and obtaining public acceptance
  • Preliminary ranking of candidate sites
  • Site feasibility study
  • Risk analysis
  • Environmental impact report
  • Preliminary geotechnical characterization of waste
  • Preliminary site investigation
  • Final site selection
  • Examples of disastrous selection of sites

Chapter 3: Geotechnical Exploration of Sites for Development of Mine Waste Storages

  • Soil engineering survey
  • Soil engineering data
  • Detailed information for design of slopes & seepage control
  • Profile description
  • Simple in situ tests and soil sampling
  • Taking undisturbed soil samples for laboratory testing

Chapter 4: Environmental and Engineering Characteristics of Mine Waste, Including Stress and Strain Analysis and Laboratory Shear Testing

  • Characteristics having environmental impact
  • Engineering characteristics
  • Changes of waste characteristics with time, and other considerations
  • Analysis of stresses and strains and the principle of effective stress
  • The behaviour of mine waste materials subjected to shear
  • The process of consolidation and pore pressure re-distribution in laboratory shear tests
  • The strength and viscosity of tailings at large water contents
  • The shear strengths of interfaces
  • The shear strength of waste rock
  • Strain softening of "dry’’ coarse mine wastes
  • The mechanics of unsaturated waste materials

Chapter 5: In Situ Shear Strength Testing of Tailings and Other Waste Materials and Test Interpretation

  • The shear vane test
  • The pressuremeter test
  • The cone penetrometer test
  • Estimation of potential for liquefaction from cone penetration tests

Chapter 6: Measuring the Coefficient of Permeability in the Laboratory and In Situ, Seepage Flow Nets, Drains and Linings, Geosynthetics, Geomembranes and GCL’s

  • Measuring permeability
  • Observed differences between small scale and large scale permeability measurements
  • Laboratory tests for permeability
  • Methods for measuring permeability in situ
  • Estimation of permeability from field tests
  • Large-scale permeability tests using test pads
  • The permeability of tailings
  • Seepage and flow nets
  • The design of filter drains
  • Calculation of seepage rates through tailings storages
  • The processes of consolidation and pore pressure re-distribution
  • Basal impervious liners and surface cover layers
  • Blockage of filter drains and geotextiles
  • Geosynthetic materials

Chapter 7: The Mechanics of Compaction

  • The compaction process
  • Uses of compaction in mine waste engineering
  • The mechanisms of compaction
  • Relationships between saturated permeability to water flow and water content
  • Laboratory compaction
  • Precautions to be taken with laboratory compaction
  • Compaction in the field
  • Designing a compacted clay layer for permeability
  • Seepage through field-compacted layers
  • Control of compaction in the field
  • Special considerations for work in climates with large rates of evaporation
  • Additional points for consideration

Chapter 8: Methods for Constructing Impounding Dykes for Storing Hydraulically Transported Tailings and Other Fine-Grained Wastes

  • Deposition methods and sequences
  • Beach formation in hydraulic deposition of fine-grained wastes
  • Predicting beach profiles
  • Details of particle size sorting during hydraulic deposition
  • Effects of particle size sorting on permeability, water content and strength variation down a beach
  • A comparison of tailings beaches formed in air and in water
  • Methods for depositing slurries of tailings and other fine-grained waste materials
  • Operational systems for tailings storages
  • An example of building an embankment by underwater deposition
  • Pool control and decanting

Chapter 9: Water Control and Functional and Safety Monitoring for Hydraulic Fill Tailings Storages and Dry Dumps Safety Appraisal Special Considerations for Carbonaceous and Radioactive Wastes

  • Basis of a water control system
  • Penstocks or decant towers and spillways
  • Monitoring systems for waste storages
  • Appraisal of safety for waste storages
  • Special considerations for carbonaceous wastes
  • A note on characteristics of radioactive wastes

Chapter 10: Water Balances for Tailings Storage Facilities and Dry Waste Dumps

  • Water balances in general
  • Required data
  • Components of the water balance for an operational tailings storage
  • Examples of water balances for operating hydraulic fill tailings storage impoundments
  • The possibilities for saving water
  • Seepage from the tailings storage into the foundation strata and the recession of the phreatic surface following cessation of operations
  • Drainage of interstitial water as the phreatic surface recedes
  • The water balance for a "dry’’ dump or a closed and rehabilitated tailings storage
  • Measuring potential infiltration and runoff
  • Estimating evaporation or evapotranspiration
  • Measuring evaporation by solar energy balance
  • Depth to which evaporation extends
  • The effects of slope angle and orientation on solar radiation received by slopes of waste storages
  • Water balances for "Infiltrate, Store, Evapotranspire’’ (ISE) covers and for impervious cover layers on mine waste storages
  • The water balance for a dry ash dump
  • Disposal of industrial waste liquids by evaporation and capillary storage in waste
  • The role of soil heat G in evaporation of water from a soil
  • Further points to consider
  • Principles of the measuring weir

Chapter 11: Failures of Mine Waste Storages

  • Failures: causes, consequences, characteristics
  • Failures of hydraulic fill tailings storages caused by seismic events
  • Flow failures caused by overtopping
  • Failure caused by increasing pore pressure
  • Failures caused by excessive rate of rise
  • Failure caused by poor control of slurry relative density
  • Post-failure profiles of hydraulic fill tailings storages
  • Analysis of the motion of flow failures
  • The effects of failure geometry on insurance rates
  • Failures of dumps of coarse wastes
  • Failures caused by collapse of tailings storages into subterranean caverns or underground workings
  • Failures of impervious linings installed on steep slopes
  • Methods for analysis of the stability of slopes
  • Further points regarding the failure of slopes

Chapter 12: Surface Stability of Tailings Storages Slopes – Erosion Rates, Slope Geometry and Engineered Erosion Protection

  • Past practice for slope angles of tailings storages
  • Acceptable erosion rates for slopes
  • Wind erosion compared with water erosion
  • Acceptable slope geometry for tailings storages
  • Protection of slopes against erosion by geotechnical means
  • Special considerations applying to badly eroded abandoned or neglected tailings storages
  • The effect of eroded tailings on the surroundings of a storage of sulphidic tailings
  • Wind speed profiles, amplification factors and wind erosion
  • Wind speed profiles over natural and constructed slopes
  • Wind tunnel tests on model waste storages
  • Erosion and deposition by wind on full size waste storages
  • Analysis of particle movement in the wind
  • Summary of points to be considered

Chapter 13: The Use of Mine Waste for Backfilling of Mining Voids and as a Construction Material

  • Applications of backfilling
  • Backfilling of shallow underground mine workings to stabilize the surface
  • The properties of mine waste as a structural underground support in narrow stopes
  • Measurements in situ of stresses and strains in fills at great depth
  • Supporting narrow stopes with steel-reinforced granular tailings backfill
  • The behaviour of steel mesh-reinforced square columns of cemented cyclone tailings underflow (grout packs)
  • The use of geotextiles for temporary retention of backfill in narrow stopes during hydraulic placing
  • The use of mine and industrial wastes in surface construction

About the Author

Geoffrey Blight completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and his PhD at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. The early years of his career were spent at the South African National Building Research Institute, Pretoria, where he was engaged in research on design, operation and safety of mine waste storage facilities, including waste rock dumps and hydraulic fill tailings storage facilities. After the disastrous failure of a coal waste dump at Aberfan, U.K. in 1966, he was sent on a country-wide inspection tour of South African mines to make sure that no similarly threatening stability situations existed locally. Eleven years later, after the disastrous failure of a hydraulic fill tailings dam at Bafokeng, north of Johannesburg, he was asked by the mining industry to write a comprehensive guide to the design, operation and closure of mine waste storage facilities. This appeared in 1979 and has been revised and updated several times since.

Geoff Blight re-joined the Department of Civil Engineering at Witwatersrand University in 1969 and the results of his continuing research and consulting work on mine waste have been widely published since. The present book has been developed from the updated mining industry guide as well as a series of post graduate courses in mine waste management that have been presented for many years.

In addition to numerous technical papers published in refereed journals and conference proceedings, he is the editor and co-author of the book “Mechanics of Residual Soil” (Balkema, 1997) and author of “Assessing Loads on Silos and Other Bulk storage Structures” (Taylor and Francis 2006).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Environmental Science