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Archive for the ‘Engineering – General’ Category

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Here is a new document from the US EPA on treating mine-affected waters.  Free to download at this link and worth so doing.

The document is titled:  Reference Guide to Treatment Technologies for Mining-Influenced Water (EPA 505-F-12-001).

I read it and found it pretty comprehensive, although I am no expert in the topic.  Still, there appears to be much need for such a survey and I am sure many will find it useful and informative.

Not that mining is the only place needing water treatment technologies.  As the North Carolina folk have determined there is groundwater contamination at all their ash disposal sites.  See this link where the following is written:

More ground water supplies around the state may be contaminated by coal ash.  Those are the findings of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Resources.
Director Tom Reeder told the state’s environmental review commission further examination beyond the Dan River spill indicates that trouble may be found in other parts of the state.
“We’ve known that for a long time now. Yeah, there is some level of ground water contamination at every coal ash facility,” he said.

The Dan River impact by spillage from one such facility has prompted these “revelations.”  Nothing like a major failure to shock officials into action!

Although there is still much muddle.  Today I spoke with folk doing a closure plan.  Their approach is to compare the cost of doing nothing at closure (no covers) and treating lots of seepage versus low permeability covers and little treatment.  The fallacy of this comparison is that limited seepage implies limited treatment.  In fact, low seepage may be more contaminated than high seepage:  the water has more time to pick up constituents.  So much for elementary logic!

Let us know you perspectives and experiences.

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There is still time to join us for the upcoming EduMine webcast Advanced Tailings and Mine Waste Facility Design, Operation, and Closure.  Here is the link to the course.

Even if you have taken other courses before conferences, or the other EduMine webcast on Introduction to Tailings, or our previous Advanced Tailings courses, I know you will find interesting and exciting information, perspectives, practices, and case histories in this new course.

We have completely renovated the materials.  First we feature, on each of the three days of the webcast, a series of talks by Christian Kujawa, Robert Cooke, and Ian Hutchison on these topics:

  • Conventional tailings.
  • Thickened tailings.
  • Filter pressed tailings.

Christian and Robert are with Paterson and Cooke—they are leading consultants in making, transporting, and distributing tailings.  They have put together a great series of presentations on thickeners, cyclones, pipes conveyors, and the details of making and working with thickened, paste, and filtered tailings.  Their presentations will put you at the cutting edge of technology and practice in the production, transport, and distribution of all types of tailings.

Ian Hutchison is with SLR—he and his colleagues are experts in the design, construction, operation, and closure of tailings facilities.  They have assembled a suite of new case histories from North America, Australia, and South Africa.  Most are new to me—and I follow the topic pretty carefully.

I will come in from time to time to talk of theses new topics:

  • Risk assessment and decision-making for tailings management.
  • Dam safety inspections and evaluations.
  • Case histories on new project that I am working on–I am particularly proud that Nyrstar are permitting me to talk of closure planning for the Myra Falls mine here in BC.

In addition I will present summaries of the best new papers to be presented at the upcoming conference Paste 2014.  I have read all the papers and here I present a preview of those that impressed me most.  Time permitting, I will also talk about papers to be presented next week in Brazil at the conference on Mine Closure.

Lawrence Charlebois will spend an hour or so on that most difficult set of tailings topics, namely rheology, beaching, and Optimized Seasonal Deposition of polymer amended tailings.  For polymer amendment works.  I know that.  It just needs a bit of bold field application and the oil sands folk will be seen as heroes.

In short, this is a great opportunity to come up to speed with the newest & best in tailings.  Come join us and advance your knowledge & career by hearing from the most knowledgeable & experienced in the field.  I look forward to meeting & talking with you.  And it is a hell-of-a-lot cheaper than those expensive conferences where you fall asleep through dull presentations by amateurs.

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The general approach to undertaking a risk assessment is well described in International Standard IEC/ISO 31010, which also provides considerable information about risk assessment methods. It notes, however: “The standard does not provide specific criteria for identifying the need for risk assessment, nor does it specify the type of risk analysis method that is required for a particular application.” (more…)

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Below is a report that hit my email inbox today.  I repeat in full, not because mines are the main culprit, but because mines are probably NOT the main culprit.  This report is a sobering reminder that dry-cleaners, car-battery recyclers, old military bases, and jails are also major contaminators.  Yet so little is written or done about them—it is not a very sexy topic–so much easier to excoriate mining. Not that Giant, Faro, and a few other old mines are going to be cheap to cleanup. (more…)

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Constructing covers over mining wastes at sites in cold climates involves consideration of these factors that are unique to cold climates: (more…)

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Spent today in a course on Covers in Cold Climates.  The course is part of the seminar to follow tomorrow and Wednesday on the same topics.  Arranged by InfoMine, it is being held in Whistler, which is a nice, but not spectacular place to have a conference—I prefer Banff or Vancouver.   For the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a pale reflection of those other grand hotels with the Fairmont name: a bland and ugly exterior that replicates in cheap detail the features of the hotel in Vancouver that it tries to emulate. (more…)

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The title of this posting translates as Mine Water and Chemical Balance Analysis.  Today, EduMine posted at this link the Spanish language version of what has become a rather popular online course. (more…)

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In selecting topics to blog about, my first choice is something that struck me today as new and interesting.  Today the most fascinating new thing I learnt resulted from a visit by a young Irishman from Nuna Innovation Inc.  He told me about a geosynthetics that I had not hitherto been aware of. (more…)

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Most engineers have no idea what the strength of a soil or tailings implies.  Let me write a little about the physicality of soil and tailings of a given strength. (more…)

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I have learnt a great deal from the salesmen of commercial products to the mining industry.  I am always pleased to welcome them to my office when they email or phone and ask if they can come see me on a blatant marketing visit.   For it was Ralph B. Peck, one of the fathers of soil mechanics, now called geotechnical engineering, who said that we should read the adverts in the magazine before we read the technical articles; he said that we will learn more from the ads about what is current, new, and innovative than from papers written years before in order to progress through the peer review system. (more…)

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