Geotechnical and Seismic Design Considerations for Mine Tailings Dam
A mining operation produces enormous quantities of fine-grained wastes called ‘tailings’, which are commonly disposed of as slurry in impoundments, necessitating the construction of engineered earth structures (tailings dam) of considerable heights. Consequently, the stability analysis of these earth structures becomes a primary concern. The paper presents the various civil and geotechnical engineering issues attendant in the design and construction of tailings dam. Emphasis is directed towards the stability analysis methods using limit-equilibrium approach and numerical (finite-element) analysis. Case studies using both methods are presented. The importance of a site-specific approach for selecting seismic parameters, as well as the need for a comprehensive and continuous monitoring program during and after construction is also discussed.
Keywordstailings dam slope stability limit-equilibrium method finite-element method
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The authors acknowledge the assistance provided and valuable discussions with Engr. Martin Luther L. Cocson and Dr. Ramon D. Quebral of AMH Philippines, Inc., as well as Dr. William M. Tanzo of the University of the Philippines and Engr. Marcelo A. Bolano of Benguet Corporation. The example presented was based on projects undertaken by the authors.
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