Yesterday we walked in the forest behind the town house. The sun shone through the trees and the boys ran with glee along the bright paths. Their father stayed on the dock vainly fishing. The picture shows some of the fun.
I returned to read the proceedings of the 1998 conference on Tailings and Mine Waste in preparation of a paper I am writing for this year’s conference. There I found a paper by R.J. Neukirchner & G.G. Lord both of Eagle Engineering Services. Their paper is called Covering of Soft Tailings.
They describe construction of a cover over the soft tailings of the Eagle Mine Superfund site in Colorado. They let the tailings freeze, then they placed geogrid, geotextile, a drainage layer, and cover soil. This was in 1998. They did no analyses from what I can discern, but advanced by judgment based on field tests.
In my opinion, this was bold engineering. My opinion is based on what we did in 2008 onwards at Pond 5 of the Suncor Oil Sands Mine. Here is a link to our paper. We too allowed the tailings to freeze, placed geotextile and geogrid, and a layer of light-weight coke that doubles as a drainage layer.
I thought we were the first to do this. For I had not read Neukirchner & Lord. Thus now let me compliment them and pay respects to their successes.
The sad part is that I did not find their paper while working on our pond. How could I? I did not attend all those conferences in the 1990s—I was in California working on landfills. I would never have thought of going back to 1998 and the dusty conference proceedings of a volume far back on the shelves. We were using FLAC to analyze the cover. I expected everything of note to be on Google.
Which leaves me wondering: how do we get all these lost papers from the paper-format to the searchable electronic format?