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Archive for the ‘Heap leach’ Category

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Today was a typical day in the life of a mining consultant.  One report was issued; one project put on hold; one request for proposals received; and a long discussion on how to deal with an obdurate client.

The project put on hold was in the prefeasibility stage–of deciding how to reopen a mine closed some fifteen years ago.  The pit designer had calculated that $75 million of prestripping was needed to get to the ore.  The pit stability analyist had decided the pits could not go much deeper without rock bolting.  The metallurgist said there was no equipment available to get the ore ready for heap leaching.  The heap leach pad designer had said the new heap leach pad was feasible but a long way from the mill—would it be economic to transport that distance?  And the groundwater guys had said there was not enough groundwater to support operations.  No wonder it was put on hold.

The report issued advised on how to deal with a sinkhole that had developed in the tailings over an area where the geomembrane liner had been torn and repaired during installation.  And how to deal with diversion channels designed for a mere twenty-five year precipitation event.

The obdurate client wants to relocate waste rock to a site where the groundwater becomes artesian in the wet season.   And they do not want perpetual water treatment although the rock is acid generating.  Imagine that!

Then the RFP to proposed to compile a mine closure plan came in.  Can we win?  Is it worth compiling and submitting?  Should we team?

Finally I did a dry run of the EduMine webcast for next week on Mine Water Management.  Please to say that Clint Strachan of MWH has agreed to join me and present on mine water management at the Marlin Mine in Guatemala.  it will be great to hear his presentation.  There is still time to join us on Tuesday.

Then home to a drink and an opera.  Tell you about that in the next posting.

 

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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…)

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The BC  Northwest Community College, School of Exploration & Mining is to be congratulated on a superb set of courses offered in 2014.  Lori Knorr sent me this list:  (more…)

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In addition to blogging, I consult to the mining industry.  And I work with Andy Robertson who also owns InfoMine to promote conferences — something InfoMine has decided to undertake in a big way. A few months ago, Andy asked me what topic I thought would make for a good conference.  A short reflection and I suggested geosynthetics in mining.   Way back in 1974 or thereabouts, I became familiar with geosynthetics when i used Bidim to make the base of a tailings facility in South Africa.  I became very familiar with geosynthetics about five years ago when Andy and I suggested geotextiles and geogrid placed on frozen tailings for the Suncor Pond 5 cover base.  In between, I have designed geogrid reinforced slopes, built reinforced walls, placed covers and liners, and read about geosynthetics.  (more…)

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On the plane to the site I dipped into Nasim Taleb’s latest book, Antifragile.  I read a few chapters and have stowed the book for the return fight.  But I picked up enough to know that an antifragile system is one that thrives on change, shock, time, and other perturbing factors.  An antifragile system is the opposite of a fragile system that inevitable breaks as a result of time, shock, disturbance, and the propagation of a mere crack. Antifragile system thrive on disorder; fragile systems do not. (more…)

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There is no limit to the future of geosynthetics in mining.  Right now almost fifty percent of geosynthetics are sold to mines.  I predict the percentage will increase.  Why? (more…)

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This morning I attended the opening of the conference on heap leaching taking place here in Vancouver.  Seem there are but 201 mines with heap leach pads.  There are 260 delegates–more than one delegate per mine.  Some 44% of the delegates are consultants; with 27 % from industry.  17 countries are represented in the attendees.  So a good mix. (more…)

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