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Posts Tagged ‘cannon mine’

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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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This week I had reason to go back and re-read three papers I co-authored in the early 1980s.  It is surprising how far advanced we were then, and how little things have changed, or how little of what did has become standard practice. The first paper is at this link.  Rick Call was the lead on the work we describe in this paper.  He was a large buff man, with an enormous beard, a perpetual pipe, and a totally irreverent attitude towards authority.  He sent Ned Larson and me to Texas, where we sweated through the heat to get the data.  Then back to Tucson to do the calculations.  I recently reconnected with Ned who is now in Las Vegas and the grandfather of sixteen grandchildren.  He is still with the U.S. Department of Energy which he joined after working with me for five years on the UMTRA Project in Albuquerque.  He is a great engineer, as was Rick. (more…)

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I have always been fascinated by the role mining played in the glory that was Athens and hence the whole western world we enjoy.  I only wish somebody would write an intense history of Athens focussed on the mining and the role it played in the rise and fall of Athens.Sadly, most commenters end back up saying mine responsibly.   Vague and hard to do. (more…)

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At the expense of repeating myself, I say again: I am convinced that the most successful mine closure ever is that of the Cannon Mine near Wenatchee.  At this link is a website that tells it all.  (more…)

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Professor Jere Jennings who taught so many of us now-old civil engineers in mining used to say: “When you have read everything there is to read, when you have done all the calculations possible, then drink a bottle of brandy and exercise engineering judgement.” (more…)

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There is more civil engineering in mining than there is mining engineering in mining.  To substantiate this controversial statement let me repeat below something I wrote a long time ago.  (more…)

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