Archive for the ‘Policy and procedure’ Category


A bit of self promotion.  There is still time to sign up and join us next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings (PST) for the EduMine course on Mine Waste Management and Treatment.  See this link for details.

This is an entirely new course–none of the materials we will present have been presented before.  The reason this is new and important are the presenters:

Jack Caldwell will focus on the engineering side of water management, discussing available state-of-the-art technologies and appropriate management systems for advanced mine water management from design through closure, including a renewed focus on risk assessment and decision making. David Kratochvil and Patrick Littlejohn of BioteQ will address recent advances in processing and treating water for mine uses, mine reuse, and discharge.

In particular this is the first time that David and Patrick are presenting an EduMine webcast.   I have known them both for many years and have become more and more impressed by their knowledge, skills, and ability.  I just had to get them with me onto an EduMine course.  I know that what they present will be state-of-the art, practical, and relevant.

We will deal with the new ICMM guidelines on mine water management, on limiting water use on mines, on treating water to recycle water, and preparing water for discharge in accordance with more stringent regulations.  We will discuss the best papers of the past year in InfoMine and other conference on mine water management & treatment.  In short we aim to bring you up-to-date with the best, newest, and most practical approaches to making your mine use less water, use water wisely, and reduce the increasing cost of water and it use.

All three of us stand ready to talk with you about the course before the course if you like.  Contact me at jcaldwell@infomine.com and I will direct you as appropriate to David or Patrick.  In fact if you have special issues, join us, let us know of your specific interest, and we will address them in the course.

See you there.


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I am working on a new EduMine course on Cover.  It will probably be a year or so before it is available.  SO here is some interesting information I compiled yesterday.

Undoubtedly the best way to control erosion on sideslope covers is to place a layer of durable rock. We perfected the design procedures on the UMTRA Project, and full details of the design and analytical approaches can be found in the Technical Approach Document. The methods described in the Technical Approach Document for selection of the size of the rock are based on methods described in Methodologies for Evaluating Long-term Stabilization Design of Uranium Mill Tailings Impoundments NUREG/CR-4620 and Development of Riprap Design Criteria by Riprap Testing in Flumes NUREG/CR-4651. It is worth downloading these three documents and reading them even if you never need to calculate the size of rock for cover erosion control. At the very least see a magnificent summary of the methods in a paper Erosion Cover Design for Disposal Sites by Berg Keshian and Mike Bone, who in truth deserve the credit for the methods and their practical implementation.

The guidance documents referenced above were written in the 1980s. Since then many more rip rap design guidance documents have been published. One that is easy to read is Riprap Design and Construction Guide from the British Columbia Ministry of Environment. Many other jurisdictions have published similar guidance document that focus on local conditions and requirements. A good example is the National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s Report 568 Riprap Design Criteria, Recommended Specifications, and Quality Control. Seek them out if you need to size the rock for a cover. Finally see Steven Abt’s 2013 assessment of the many methods for designing riprap in the paper Evaluation of overtopping riprap design relationships. A good example calculation of the rock size is at this link which is an appendix to the Sequoyah Facility Reclamation Plan.

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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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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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I get many pleas for help in finding a job in mining.  Most I refer to Careermine.  For that is the site that lists every possible job in mining.  Yet this one caught my attention, for it is a story of love.  At least I think so.  I have the sender’s permission to post what she sent me.  Here it is. (more…)

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I was asked recently to comment on the factor of safety and the probability of failure.  I declined, because I have been thinking about it, using it, and writing about it forever.  I went back to one of the first pieces I wrote, The Engineer and the Probability of Failure.  You can download a copy at this link.   It was an occasional piece in a magazine in South Africa.  It is dated October 1978. I based the piece on a court case in South Africa where the judge wrote: (more…)

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