2000 – Capping of Very Low Strength Tailings Using Woven Geotextile and Geosynthetic Clay Liner

Ross Stewart

This paper describes the use of a high strength woven geotextile and preloading to stabilise the surface of a very low strength tailings pond, and the incorporation of a geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) within the final capping design to complete closure. The pond, which contains tin and copper tailings, formed the lower tailings containment area of a three-tiered tailings storage, located directly above the Wild River in North Queensland. Stabilising the lower pond (area 2,500 m2), which contained tailings of “zero strength” in the central area involved the placement of a woven geotextile over the surface, which was anchored around the perimeter. The placement of finger berms (preloading fill) on the geotextile was successful without exceeding the bearing capacity of the tailings overall. Settlements of the berms were closely monitored to allow the system to support construction plant. After the finger berms were joined, they were widened until the area was covered. A sand layer was then placed over the area followed by a GCL to form an impermeable barrier prior to the placement of clay and topsoil.

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