2016 – Kanmantoo Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) – Optimising the Design, Construction and Operation of a Fully HDPE Lined Tailings Storage Facility

David Piccolo, Gareth Swarbrick, Garry Mostyn, Bruce Hutchison, Rodd Brinkmann

Hillgrove Resources owns and operates Kanmantoo copper mine some 44 km southeast of Adelaide.

An important feature of the mine is its tailings storage facility (TSF) which is fully lined with HDPE, and double lined at the base, fully under drained, has a secondary underdrainage system for leak detection and a multi-staged centralised decant system. This onerous design of the TSF was developed in consultation with DMITRE between 2007 and 2010 amid concerns of groundwater protection and effective water management.

The Authors were approached in 2010, following construction of the initial stage of the TSF, and charged with developing the design to increase storage from 13 to 20 million tonnes, as well as optimising the design and construction of future stages.

This paper presents the more interesting aspects of the design and construction optimisation between 2010 and 2016 including:

  • Optimisation of the:
    o extent of the double liner and underdrainage system,
    o protection layer below the liner, and
    o quality control process adopted during construction.
  • Design, construction and operational responses to the challenges arising from the raising the TSF including the effect of increased tailings height on the decant structure, buried pipes, and the double liner.

The design and construction approaches have been scrutinised and accepted by regulatory authorities, and implemented by the mine operator over a period of 6 years. The paper includes lessons learnt during the implementation process.

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