I have probable made this point before, but I make it again, as last week I came across a good example of what happens when the following advice is ignored. All reports issues by a consultant should be peer reviewed before issue. It is as simple as that. (more…)
Archive for the ‘consulting’ Category
Words cannot capture a day of intense impressions. Yet let me try. Go east of Lima into the hills (as I did today) and see this:
- Tailings clinging to the steep hills in defiance of gravity.
- A mine closed by the government to perfection. They know what they are doing!
- Filter-pressed tailings transported fifty kilometers up 1000 m elevation to a new disposal site — economically?
The great news is that all is going well regarding the upcoming conference Geosynthetics Mining Solutions. The conference is to be held in Vancouver September 8 to 11, 2014.
We have sold out the sponsorships–so almost everybody that is anybody in the world of geosynthetics manufacturers, suppliers, and installers will be there. I am very grateful to them all. But most impressive is that many have teamed with consultants to write paper about the application of their products in mining case histories.
We have published the first list of papers. May change as more come in or, sadly, one or two drop out. But I think it is fair to say that we have an extraordinary set of papers, most of which include case histories new to me. In fact I am amazed and impressed at the variety of new applications to which geosynthetics are being put in the mining industry. Here are three that catch my attention:
- Rigid Inclusions for Embankment Support over Waste Phosphatic Clay by Ed Garbin, James D. Hussin, Jeffrey R. Hill
- GCLs in heap leach pads: state of the art and practice by T. Meyer and C. Athanassopoulos
- Use of an innovative geocomposite (paradrain) to build a reinforced 2H:1V slope using clay and silty soils for stormwater management pond by Ravin Nag, Jasmina Nikodinoska
In addition to a superb collection of papers with practical bent, we have the support of leading practitioners who will present keynote speeches on the work they are doing in geosynthetics in mining. You may have seen some of the adverts in recent magazines that list most of them. Due to an oversight on my part (I get old) we did not list Mark Smith. But here I wish to make amends. I have never met Mark, but I have read just about everything he has written and published on geosynthetics, and I know he knows his stuff better than the rest of us. I look forward to meeting him and hearing him talk.
On the Monday preceding the conference we have three short courses. Here the details
Course 1 – Geosynthetic Design Considerations for Heap Leach Pads – “Extreme Fill Loads on Geomembrane Liner Systems”
Timothy D. Stark, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Robert H. Swan, Jr., Drexel University, USA
Allan Breitenbach, Ausenco, USA
R. Kerry Rowe, Queens University, Canada
View the course outline
Course 2 – Introduction to Geosynthetics in Mining
Dirk van Zyl, Professor and Chair of Mining and the Environment, University of British Columbia, Canada
Sam Allen, Vice President, TRI Geosynthetics Services, USA
Terry Mandziak, P.E., Principal Consultant, Geotechnical Engineering, SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc., USA
View the course outline
Course 3 – Horizontal Drainage, QA and QC: Cost Effective Strategies to Ensure Safe, Leak-Proof and Efficient Geosynthetic Lining Systems
Eric Blond, eng.M.Sc.A., Vice-president, SAGEOS/CTT Group, Canada
Arnaud Budka, ing., Project Director, Groupe Alphard, Canada
Pascal Saunier, P.Eng., Ing., Technical Director, Afitex-Texel Inc., Canada
View the course outline
This is the first conference specifically on the topic of geosynthetics in mining. And it promises to be great. Come join us and register now.
Posted in consulting, Geosynthetics, Geotechnical, Heap leach, Reclamation, Tailings, Waste Rock, tagged cover, erosion, geosynthetic, mine closure, Reclamation, rock cover, slope stability on July 2, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
The exterior surface of most tailings, waste rock, and heap leach facilities include:
- A top deck which is the flatter surface that forms the top surface of the facility. This is usually sloped at between one and five percent, primarily to promote runoff.
- The sideslopes which are easily covered if they are inclined at about five horizontal to one vertical (5H:1V) but which in practice may be as steep as 1.4H:1V.
Covers on the top deck are less subject to erosion, slope instability, and soil creep than covers on sideslopes. Thus different covers may be appropriate at the same facility on the top deck as compared to the sideslopes. Here are a few idle thoughts on sideslope covers for mine waste facilities. (more…)
The past week at a mine in Honduras. Too many impressions to record right now. So a few photos instead.
Mike Jacobs of Goldcorp presented the keynote address today at Paste 2014 in Vancouver. His topic: Where mining meets the public–and why water is so important? He told us that Goldcorp annually publishes the statistics of the use of water at all its mines. Commendable. Then he told us of the First Nations prayer ceremonies at the opening and closing of water seasons at their mines. Incredible. (more…)
The first official day of conference sessions at the Paste 2014 conference here in Vancouver. Sean Wells, Director of Research for Suncor presented the opening keynote address. I cannot possibly here recount all he said. All I can do is note a few points that he made that stuck with me. In due course, his PowerPoint presentation will be available through InfoMine. Get it and take deep thought over it, for his points are provocative, timely, and scary. He noted that the problems of oil sands tailings management are all about scale. They oil sands produce so much tailings that the shear volumes and areas needed introduce problems not encountered in conventional tailings management. I have heard it said that the two oil sands mines, Suncor and Syncrude, produce more tailings per day than the combined total of all the other mines worldwide. His point is made. (more…)
Lesson learnt: in all O&M tailings management manuals put in a requirement to observe the penstock more carefully when tailings discharge water is not going through it—look carefully to see if water from another source is exiting the pipe and find out why.
This is a new lesson learnt. This is something I had not before now thought of. But on the basis of what I saw and did today, a necessary action.
Add it to your O&M manual.
Here are some pictures of this situation:
If you have a penstock and seek to know more, contact me.
I am not sure I can do it. Can I put in words what it takes to be a great engineer? It is easy to recognize a great engineer when you work with them. I have these past few days worked with a great engineer whom I had not met before. I just know he is a great engineer. But as I said, I am not sure I can in words justify my gut emotion. Let me try, for if I fail this is but a blog posting–one of many, in fact posting 1,953 or thereabouts.
We drove around the sites together. We got out to look and to feel the soil & tailings. We joked that it is no longer considered safe to put the soil between tongue and top of palate to determine if it is a clay or silt. We both used to do that before H&S became a dictator. We shared observations about the vegetation–a sure sign of soil type and groundwater flow. We delighted in the scarp face of a soil failure zone caused by excessive seepage. And we kicked the rocks with glee to see them roll rugged, gray, and non-acid generating down the slope. We marveled at the track marks up the slope where the fussy site overseer continuously dressed the slope. And we poked our ears down the penstock to listen to water flowing when it should not.
He knew the history of the dams: the people who designed them; the problems that arose during construction; the failures during raising; the incidents not reported; the current need for more information; and the way the impoundments must be constructed so that they may be operated for twenty years and more.
We nodded or winked when referring to clients past and present who did not provide adequate budget. We shrugged a shoulder when agreeing the mine gets what is pays for and pays for a lot more when it does not pay its consultants to do what they know needs to be done.
Instinctively we concurred that the mine deserves its sorrows when it cuts budgets or defers inevitable capital expenditure and maintenance.
He has that singular gift of focusing on what is relevant. He cut through the underbrush that distracts the inexperienced and unskilled. He calmly focused on the sights, sounds, and senses of that which will fail soon if not remediated. And ignored the spectacular but irrelevant.
Yet he has been a good consultant to the miners. He has used judgment when the youth would have demanded finite element analyses. He has made quick decisions based on knowledge and experience when the youth would have waded through tests, trials, and tribulations. He has produced in the face of small budgets and demanding miners.
And now as he gets old, he gets patient. There is no hurry. So what if the report is late or never produced. “Just hear me and do it.”
And that is the ultimate sign of a great engineer: they know they are right and know they do not and cannot write enough to prove they are right.
More than twenty-five years ago, I spent six months in Oak Ridge, Tennessee opening the Jacobs Engineering office. Then we won a job that required me to move to Pasadena, California. This week I am back in the state and see much change. Highway 40 from Oak Ridge to Knoxville was a quiet road. Now it is continuous commercial development and an eight-lane freeway. The weather is still perfect and the people still have that wonderful can-do attitude.
Those miners I have been with this week are so American. Their attitude is always: that is a great idea–we can do it; but here is a better idea–what do you think?
So we leapfrog from issue, to question, to idea, to analysis, to solutions. And the outcome is a positive advance based on mutual agreement.
Did you know that Tennessee is a mining place? One of the largest producers of zinc concentrate? Some of the mines are one-hundred and more years old. Of course there is still some coal mining, but I know little of that. As the picture above shows, natural gas is a thing I thought not off way back then.
The food is great: meat and sauces, fries, and sweet tea. Then there are those many variations of Jack Daniel’s that I cannot get elsewhere. Right now I type to the tune of Winter Jack: “A seasonal blend of apple cider liqueur & Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey.” Magnificent. No wonder mining is so smooth.
I am told the regulators are great people to work with.
So the mines advance with the usual issues to be dealt with: too much vegetation in waterways & spillways; seepage through rock embankments; tailings pools too close to dikes; the threat of hurricane-induced probable maximum precipitation; and the New Madrid earthquake that makes this a region where seismic stability analyses are no deal and a big deal.