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Today we completed a three-day EduMine webcast on  Mine Water Management.  Some thirty people from all over the world joined in.  Maybe you can join us next time we do this.  But for now, here are a few ideas on research opportunities in mine water management that came up during discussions.

Risk Assessment in Mine Water Management.  There were a few papers at the Tailings and Mine Waste Conference recently on risk assessment for tailings facility management.  I am not aware of any substantial work on the issue of risk assessment in mine water management in the broader context. Much has and can be done with GoldSim, but I know there is a need for fundamental research on this issue.  For example the recently issued Canadian Dam Association Guidelines on Mining Dams (aka Tailings Facilities) recommends design flood recurrence intervals based on the tailings facility hazard ranking.  Neat but without much justification or substantiation.

Acidic Tailings Polymer Amendment.   Polymer amendment of oil sands is successful.  But can this approach be used to limit acid production by tailings?  I have no idea and am not aware of any work in this regard.

Wetland Efficacy.   There is much written and much has been done on this topic.  I suspect, however, that there is much more to be done in the context of mining applications.

Perpetual Mine Water Treatment Cost Estimating.  In my view this is still one of the most difficult issues in mine water management.  It is being done all the time, yet it is still an art, not a science.  We need the deep financial types to tackle this one.

Dealing with Karst at Mine Sites.  There is a rich source of case histories on this issue in South Africa.  Most are tales of woe.  One way to do it is to put you structure that is underlain by karst geology on a foundation of cemented soil and rock—and preferable include copious geogrids in the foundation so that if the sinkhole develops, the foundation bridges the hole and the structure remain intact or at least does not fail rapidly and kill people.

Deep Ocean Disposal.  I have previously noted on this blog that the Chilean mining industry is looking into this practice in great detail.  Surely an examination in concert with Chile by other ocean-bordered countries would be a fascinating research topic for an aspiring young student.

I am sure there are many other interesting related research topics.  Please note your ideas as a comment.

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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. (more…)

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In February next year I shall go to the Society of Mining Engineers (SME) conference in Denver.  One evening I shall dine with Andy Robertson and his party.  We will celebrate his induction into the Mining Hall of Fame. This is a signal honor for him and due recognition of his many contributions to the mining industry.  He well deserves it.  Not that he needs more recognition–most people I speak to know and respect him.  He is well-known for his superior intellect, his accomplishments, and his human gentleness.  For he is first and foremost a gentleman in all meanings of the word. (more…)

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This year I have visited at least sixteen tailings facilities from the far north of Canada to the far south of Chile.  Mainly I was there to see about the state, safety, and ongoing operation of the facilities.  But along the way I had an incredible opportunity to observe and photograph mine water management facilities and systems. In next week’s EduMine webcast on Mine Water Management, I will have a chance to distill these many observations into a coherent whole.  So come join us in the webcast next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  But three hours a day each morning and I will update you on the many systems, practices, components, and ideas I have gleaned from these trips and observations.  Many new case histories courtesy of the mines I visited. (more…)

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A beautiful sunny day in Keystone in the Colorado Rockies and the first day of the conference on Tailings and Mine Waste 2014.  Today was short-course Sunday.  With Franco Oboni and Cesar Oboni of Riskope, I presented a one-day course on Risk Assessment and Decision Making for Tailings Facilities. (more…)

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Spent today stuffing the bags to be handed to the over 150 delegates to next week’s conference here in Vancouver on Geosynthetics Mining Solutions 2014.   I also went through the volume of proceedings.  We have some amazingly interesting papers on aspects of geosynthetics use in mining new to me.  There is still time to join us on Tuesday if you push hard. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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