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Mechanical properties of fine grained, sulphur rich, silty soils
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
2010 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Tailings are the waste products produced during extraction of minerals from the ore. The particle size of tailings varies from medium sand to silt or clay size. Tailings are used as a construction material for raising of embankments called tailings dams. During spigotting, the coarse particles (sands) lie close to the embankment, while the fine particles (slimes) move downwards to the impoundment. The rate of failure in tailings dams is higher than that for the conventional water dams. In the past, tailings dams have failed due to various causes such as meteorological incidents, slope instability, piping/seepage, weak foundations, and seismic liquefaction etc. The statistics shows that the tailings dams are not safe even in their construction stages. The closure and reclamation measures require that the tailings dams and impoundments should be stable for a long time (more than 1000 years). Hence, the proper understanding of the mechanical properties (i.e., permeability, stiffness and strength) of tailings is essential in order to make reliable predictions for the long time stability of tailings dams and impoundments. The purpose of the literature survey carried out is: (a) to understand the mechanical properties of tailings material regarding anisotropy, cyclic loading, particle crushing and creep effects; (b) to know the current design practice and identify the factors that may have strong influence on the long time stability of tailings dams and impoundments, and (c) to find from literature, an appropriate constitutive model that can predict realistic behaviour of tailings material. There is similarity in properties of coarse tailings and loose to medium dense natural sands. Slimes are complex material and may show resemblance to natural sands, clays, or a combination of both. The hydraulic conductivity of tailings varies from point to point in a deposit. Tailings are more compressible than the natural soils. The coefficient of consolidation of slimes is in the range shown by natural clays. Due to high particle angularity, the sands and slimes show higher drained shear strength than that for similar natural soils. Undrained strength of sands is important in evaluation of liquefaction behaviour. The embankments can be raised with upstream, downstream or centreline construction methods. The upstream method is susceptible to liquefaction, whereas the downstream and centreline methods are relatively seismic resistant. The stability of the tailings embankments can be enhanced by keeping the phreatic surface low within the embankment body. The phreatic surface can be lowered with the application of cores, drainage zones, and the use of sand tailings in the embankment construction. Cut-off trenches, slurry walls, grout curtains, and liners can control seepage in tailings dams.The pore water pressures develop during construction of tailings embankments. These pore pressures are described as initial static pore pressure, initial excess pore pressure, and pore pressure due to shearing. The stability analyses conditions for conventional water dams (such as end of construction, staged construction, and long term) are also applicable to the tailings dams. The end of construction condition, and staged construction condition of a tailings dam can be analysed with undrained strength analysis. The drained analysis can be used for the long-term condition of a tailings dam (when an embankment attains maximum height and is constructed slowly). The aim of reclamation measures for tailings dams and impoundments is to achieve long time mass stability, environmental safety, and productive land use. Tailings impoundments can be stabilized with ripraps, chemicals, vegetation, and dry/wet covers etc.Most natural soils show anisotropy in strength due to their depositional history. Due to low density and high degree of saturation, tailings show large cyclic strains in a few cycles of stress reversal. The cyclic strength of tailings can increase with decreasing void ratio. Creep occurs in all soils. Clays show more creep than sands. Loose sands creep more than dense sands. The loads due to high tailings embankments may cause particle crushing and creep. The long time stability of tailings dams and impoundments can be predicted with finite element analysis with suitable constitutive models. The numerical analysis needs to be carried out for severe conditions of rainfalls, floods, and earthquakes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2010. , 88 p.
Research report / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1528
Keyword [en]
Tailings dams, Long-term stability, Finite element analysis, Constitutive models, PLAXIS simulations, Civil engineering and architecture - Geoengineering and mining engineering
Keyword [sv]
Gruvdammar, Långtidstabilitet, FEM analys, Konstitutiv modell, PLAXIS, Samhällsbyggnadsteknik och arkitektur - Geoteknik och gruvteknik
Research subject
Soil Mechanics
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-23281Local ID: 6576a250-7391-11df-ab16-000ea68e967bISBN: 978-91-7439-119-0OAI: diva2:996330
Godkänd; 2010; 20100609 (muhauc)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Zardari, Muhammad Auchar
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