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Archive for the ‘Tailings’ Category

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Here is a challenge written up in a recent comment on a previous blog posting:

I would love to see someone write a paper on the merits of a wet tailings pond. Today’s lovechild seems to be the filtered tailing concept but let’s hear some kudos for a properly designed wet tailings pond. It gives the ability to deal with seasonal or short term storm water surges, the ability to store water for use in low flow periods, avoids needing to continually withdraw process water from rivers or lakes, keeps ARD materials submerged, lower capex & opex, lower power consumption via natural clarification instead of mechanical clarification, and less greenhouse gas emissions related to lower power consumption. Where are the friends of the conventional tailings pond or have they gone into hiding from the filtered tailings mob?

Today I had lunch with John Gadsby who is 82 and still active in tailings.  Way back in 1983, he and Syd Hillis were the peer reviewers of my work on the design and construction of the Cannon Mine tailings facility besides Wenatchee, Washington.  I asked him the questions implicit in the comment above.

He quickly reminded me that the Cannon tailings facility was a very successful wet tailings deposition facility that was also designed to contain lots of water from heavy rains in the catchment area of the Cascades.  He reminded me that that facility was built to be secure as it is upgradient of a significant part of Wenatchee.  He said he thought the facility must surely represent the best tailings technology for wet tailings deposition ever.  And now it is closed and part of the Dry Gulch Riding Stables–an asset to the local community.

Without being too bold & boastful, I know this dam was good, is good, and will remain stable for a very long time hence.  It proves, in my mind, that you can mine close to communities, can safely manage wet tailings in sensitive environments, and can close mine sites for sustainable use.  Here are links to some papers I wrote on its design & construction:

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You can get all these papers by going to the InfoMine Library and doing a search for Cannon Caldwell.  You can also get a lot more information at the official Cannon Mine website.

So now let us have a debate about whether this tailings facility built in 1983 and 1984 represent current best practice or best available technology for wet tailings management.  I think it does, but then I am hopelessly prejudiced.  And I recognize parochial sentiments sometime inhibit cross-boarder admiration of engineering works.  Still you can get there in a four-hour drive from Vancouver.  Go see it sometime.

 

 

 

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Another sad story of underfunded mine closure.  According to this report, Yukon Zinc owes the territorial government $3 million in environmental security.  Now the company is bankrupt and also owing $646 million to hundreds of creditors. The tailings management system is described in a report at this link.  The system is described thus: (more…)

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The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has announced that they are convening a panel to ” review its tailings management requirements to ensure failures, such as the one registered at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley open pit copper and gold mine, can be prevented.” (more…)

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Here is the link to the new report Lower Athabasca Region Tailings Management Framework for the Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands.  In some fifty pages it sets out a new way of dealings with oil sands tailings.  Lots of detail yet not much detail. The document sets itself these goals: (more…)

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There are so many obvious comments on this story, that I refrain from comment.  The story tells its own story and carries it own implications loud enough. I refer to the story at many links.  This one says: “Los Palambres was also hit this week by a court ruling that it should demolish a mine tailings dam which protesters say is affecting water availability.” Another report says: “As a consequence Los Pelambres must destroy part, or all, of the tailings dam wall.” A more complete picture emerges from this report: (more…)

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UtilityDIVE reports at this link as follows:

Duke Energy reported its Q4 2014 earnings this week and company officials say it is preparing to pay a $100 million fine to settle the ongoing investigation into a coal ash spill into the Dan River in North Carolina.

(more…)

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Flexible Evaporation Solutions

Walked around the exhibit hall at the Denver SME convention.  Chatted to old friends and met new people–and learnt of new products. Suddenly my mind was cast back to my days as a kid on the East Geduld Mine in South Africa where we grew up.  The area was arid; there were no natural water bodies within two-hundred miles.  One of our favorite places was the mine’s evaporation ponds.  On our rickety bicycles we would break through the flimsy security gate and spend hours around the ponds.  They were magic: a wonderland of color and water.  Better than those fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. (more…)

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