Water Balance Approach to Prediction of Seepage from Mine Tailings Impoundments, Part I: General Water Balance Approach

by Keith A. Ferguson, Steffen Robertson & Kirsten, (Colorado) Inc, USA,
Ian P. G. Hutchison, Steffen Robertson & Kirsten, (Colorado) Inc, USA,
Robert L. Schiffman, Steffen Robertson & Kirsten, (Colorado) Inc, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Seepage and Leakage from Dams and Impoundments


The prediction of seepage from a tailings impoundment requires careful evaluation because the predictions can have significant economic impact upon designs, as well as permit stipulations and long-term seepage treatment and monitoring requirements. A general methodology called the 'Water Balance' approach is presented which can be used to predict the quantity and quality of seepage of interstitial tailings water from mine tailings impoundments. The water balance approach is used to account for the most important mechanisms causing seepage including seasonal and annual variations in climate, and surface and groundwater hydrology, as well as the consolidation of the tailings. A detailed discussion of Finite Strain Consolidation theory as applied to the consolidation aspect is given. A computer program developed for water balance analyses as well as results from a case history are also discussed.

Subject Headings: Water balance | Mine wastes | Water treatment | Seepage | Water storage | Consolidated soils | Computer analysis | Soil analysis

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