The SME Guide to Tailings Resources

Access tailings management case studies, research, technical papers, and industry best practices from around the world.

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Closure and Reclamation

A Guide to Audit and Assess Oil Sands Fluid Fine Tailings Performance Management

This document provides oil sands mining operators with guidelines for the audit and assessment process consistent with the requirements set out in the Performance Management documents from COSIA. There is a requirement for a 5-year audit and assessment by an independent team of audit/assessors. Through this process, the audit and assessment team will: 1. Assess the reasonableness of the relevant plans and reports. 2. Provide an opinion as to whether the mine closure plan is realistic and the progressive management of FFT is on track to the desired closure outcome.


Alternatives evaluation for tailings impoundment closures

The major objective of a tailings impoundment closure is to satisfy the requirements of the regulatory agencies, while minimizing the future liabilities of the mining company with an effective and cost efficient design. Several design concept alternatives with various design component options are generally evaluated during the early planning phases to select a preferred closure design alternative to be implemented. This paper presents a risk-based alternatives evaluation methodology as a decision-making tool that could be applied to planning for tailing impoundment closures.


Analysis and Design of Veneer cover soils for Landfills and Related Waste Containment Systems

This webinar presents an analysis of the common problem of a veneer of cover soil (0.3 to 1.0 m thick) on a geomembrane at a given slope angle and length. The webinar then presents different scenarios that create lower FS-values than the gravitational stresses of the above situation, e.g., equipment loads, seepage forces and seismic loads. As a counterpoint, different scenarios that create higher FS-values also are presented, e.g., toe berms, tapered thicknesses and veneer reinforcement. In this latter category, a subdivision is made between intentional reinforcement (using geogrids or high strength geotextiles) and non-intentional reinforcement (cases where geosynthetics overlay a weak interface within a multi-lined slope).


BC TRCR Publications

The British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation originated in the early 1970's, in response to a demonstrated need in BC for greater government-industry communications in the area of environmental protection and reclamation associated with mining. All BC Reclamation Symposia papers from 1977 to current are available for free at the University of British Columbia library. The UBC library collections have been revised making it much easier to search key subject areas such as native species, revegetation techniques, tailings, mining best practices, environmental monitoring etc., the author, paper title, and/or year presented (all the way back to 1977).


Best Practices to Prevent Releases from Impoundments at Abandoned Mine Sites while Conducting CERCLA Response Actions

EPA developed these best practices to prevent and minimize the potential for sudden uncontrolled releases of fluid mine waste that could result from the Agency’s Superfund response actions at tailings impoundments located on abandoned hardrock mine and mineral processing sites.


Bulletin 103 - Tailings Dams and Environment - Review and Recommendations (1996)

This bulletin considers the environmental impact assessment that must be made at the planning stage. It also provides consideration of the environmental stability to be achieved during the years of tailings dam construction and the period after completion and rehabilitation.


Bulletin 106 - A Guide to Tailings Dams and Impoundments - Design, Construction, Use and Rehabilitation (1996)

This bulletin discusses common problems in the disposal of tailings at mines, quarries and other industries, and identifies safe methods of designing and operating dams and impoundments. The problems encountered at the end of operations when it becomes desirable to end tailings dam construction and it is necessary to rehabilitate the dam and its impoundment to make it permanently safe and environmentally acceptable are discussed and a final chapter describes some of the governmental regulations controlling tailings dams in some countries.


Bulletin 139 - Improving Tailings Dam Safety - Critical Aspects of Management, Design, Operation and Closure (2011)

In considering the critical aspects required to improve tailings dam safety, the following subjects are addressed in this Bulletin: Corporate and Management Commitment, Education and training of company staff, Critical aspects relating to the design of a tailings dam, Critical aspects to be considered when designing for and implementing the final closure of a tailings dam, Risk management, The essential need for regular external audits and Some notes on the positive role that is played by industry regulators. The conclusion reached in the document is that diligent attention to these critical aspects will result in improved awareness and a lowering of safety incidences for tailings dams.


Bulletin 153 - Sustainable Design and Post-Closure Performance of Tailings Dams (2013)

This bulletin provides guidance for the designers, owners, operators and regulators of tailing dams on closure considerations for design at all stages of the tailings dam. The bulletin contains three main sections with a discussion on the following topics: Sustainable Closure Principles, covering current international practice, regulations, objectives, design life and phases, financial and risk management practices as they relate to closure; Sustainable Design Considerations, covering the main aspects of physical, chemical, ecological and social stability associated with tailing dam closure; Monitoring, covering post closure and long term monitoring requirements. The document presents a range of international approaches to the subject of sustainable tailings dam closure.


Bulletin 181 - Tailings Dam Design - Technology Update (2020 pre-print - members only)

This bulletin provides a framework for classifying different types of tailings based on their geotechnical properties and provides typical geotechnical parameters for the different tailings types. It also presents technologies for dewatering tailings from thickening to filtration.

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