Frozen Core Tailings Dam: Part 2, Long-Term Creep Deformation

Maritz Rykaart, A. Barrero, Arcesio Lizcano
Monday, October 1, 2018
First presented: 
Tailings and Mine Waste
Published paper
Mine Waste

Tailings management at the Hope Bay Project in Nunavut, Canada, includes reliance on an innovative frozen core dam. This dam does not have a tailings beach against it, and has been designed as a water retaining dam with a 30-year design life. The dam foundation is subject to significant long-term creep deformation. This paper, which is the second in a two-part series, describe the dam performance six years post construction, and compares modelled creep deformation with field performance data collected from shallow and deep settlement monitors, and inclinometers. The data and modelling confirm that creep deformation is less than originally anticipated during the design stage, and that continued long-term creep deformation of the dam will not result in excessive long-term strains that could impact the structure’s performance. The first paper in this series describes the thermal performance of the dam, which is a key parameter driving creep deformation.

Feature Author

Dr. Maritz Rykaart

Maritz has undergraduate and Masters degrees in Civil Engineering, a PhD in Geotechnical engineering and 21 years of experience in mine management and applied research. His experience includes geotechnical field investigations; geotechnical analysis; environmental audits; landfill siting and design; siting design, construction, operation and monitoring of pollution control systems, water supply dams, tailings impoundments and river diversions; optimization of mine water balances; permafrost engineering; and mine closure planning, design and cost estimating; construction management, quality assurance and quality control, including managing EPCM contacts.


Geotechnical Engineering Specialist
PhD, PEng
SRK Vancouver
SRK North America