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A waste fines cell with a multitude of concurrent activities


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Author J J Boshoff


This iron ore mine site, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, commenced operations in 1998, with ore derived by mining of open-cut pits in Channel Iron Deposits (CIDs). A portion of the ore extracted at the mine is processed at wet processing plants that produce both ore saleable product and waste fines (i.e. tailings) slurry. The waste fines produced at the wet plants are presently stored within Waste Fines Cells (WFCs).

Waste fines cells A (WFCA) and B (WFCB) are located within an Autonomous Haul System (AHS) area and consist of embankments that span the width of the pit in east-west alignments. Technical studies and design analyses were carried out to support embankment raises and ongoing development of the WFCs. During operation and development of the WFCs, a multitude of simultaneous activities took place to the immediate north and south of WFCA respectively. These activities included the construction of the embankment raises using the AHS fleet, mining of the CID to not only mine the ore but to also create future deposition space for WFCB, blasting next to the WFC embankments as part of the mining activities, seepage collection and dewatering of the pit in the vicinity of the WFC.

This paper discusses the material characteristics, design approach, construction staging and equipment requirements, blasting near embankments, water management, facility consequence category and closure concept.


Boshoff, J J, 2018. A waste fines cell with a multitude of concurrent activities, in Proceedings Mine Waste and Tailings Stewardship Conference 2018, pp 39–49 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).