Tailings and Mine Waste Engineering

Ensuring practical operations; successful closure

Approach

We have been extensively involved in the permitting, design, operation and closure of mine tailings, mine waste and associated water disposal/management facilities since 1974. Our expertise includes a wide range of tailings and mine waste products and hands-on knowledge of proven management techniques under a broad range of climatic conditions. We also have in-depth experience in understanding the long-term evolution of solids and porewaters in tailings storage facilities, allowing robust assessment of the adequacy of management and closure plans.

To achieve real cost benefits for tailings disposal, it is necessary to integrate the design of the process plant with the tailings disposal system, while giving consideration to all design aspects from site selection to impoundment closure. Our philosophy towards tailings and water management is heavily based on our worldwide operational experience. We aim to provide solutions that appropriately cater to each project’s needs, providing stable facilities that can be practically operated and successfully closed.

Recognising the growing need for the provision of mine waste management systems with increased water efficiency, we have invested in expanding our tailings and waste management capability. Also, with the greater emphasis on water conservation and social conscience in the mining industry, we have improved our knowledge of thickened tailings technology. This emerging technology is attractive to mines operating under strict water restrictions or those that have limited water resources available, enabling them to attain a competitive advantage in terms of water use. It also reduces the potential for contamination of soil and water sources, allowing these scarce resources to be available to other users.

 Services

  • Short- and long-term strategic planning for tailings and water management
  • Risk and hazard assessment
  • Failure evaluations
  • Feasibility studies and financial evaluations
  • Emergency response plans
  • Site evaluation and selection
  • Water balance development and utilisation
  • Emissions testing and evaluation
  • Geotechnical, hydrogeological, rheological and geochemical characterisation
  • Geotechnical, hydrologic and rheological evaluation and design (conceptual through to detailed)
  • Life cycle trade-off studies
  • Design to accommodate low strength, low density materials
  • Paste and thickened tailings schemes
  • Pilot scale test work and material characterisation
  • Design of tailings facilities (conceptual through to detailed)
  • Assistance with government permit acquisition and compliance
  • Assistance with construction management and quality assurance
  • Assistance with operational monitoring and management
  • Decommissioning, closure and landform restoration

Contacts for this service

SRK North America