2014 – Stockman Project Tailings Storage Facility Closure

Stephen Newman, Rod Jacobs, and Dr John Yeates

Independence Group (IGO) is assessing the feasibility of re-commissioning a closed copper-zinc mine in Victoria. Due to the acid producing potential of the mine tailings if exposed to oxygen they are to be contained in a saturated condition not only during the life of the mine but well beyond closure and effectively in perpetuity. The tailings are to be stored in a saturated condition underground in the mining void however due to the limited volume available approximately half of the tailings produced over the mine life will require containment in a purpose built surface Tailings Storage Facility that would need to perform as a water retaining structure.
This paper describes key challenges with tailings management including demonstrating the viability of maintaining permanent saturation of the tailings and the long term integrity of the structure. Excessive poor quality seepage, piping and other failure modes have also been considered in the long term design of the closed Tailings Storage Facility. A surveillance program to provide early identification of potential issues has also been developed.
The design is consistent with ANCOLD guidelines and used a risk based approach to assess key issues associated with the extended design life.

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