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Design to closure – construction of detailed rehabilitation designed iron ore waste rock dumps based on upfront site specific assessment

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Author A Kemp, I Taylor and S C Lamoureux
ID P201703051

Description

Detailed landform designs were completed for six (integrated) iron ore waste rock dumps at a Western Australian iron ore mine site to meet closure objectives and to optimise material movements for closure. The designs were based on specific physical and geochemical properties of waste material and the design was undertaken to enhance long-term stability of the dumps and optimise material movements, and therefore minimise closure cost. Construction of the re-shaped waste rock dumps have been completed. Following construction, surface material characteristics were found to deviate from those used in the design assessment. Materials present at surface following re-shaping were generally finer textured than those sampled for modelling. It is anticipated that the embankment slopes may experience increased rates of surface erosion compared to the rates predicted from modelling and used in design. The finer textured material is thought to be generated from exposing finer material that has migrated into the coarser matrix over time or that was not present in the sampled top surface of the landforms. This is due to armouring processes over time and this phenomenon is likely to recur following further wet seasons. The majority of the waste materials present in the waste rock dumps were subgrade banded iron formations (BIF) and chert, which are generally competent and geochemically inert. Some waste material was known to have an elevated risk of erosion but present in relatively small quantities. The presence of a large number of dolerite dyke swarms indicates appreciable volumes of dolerite were produced as waste from the pits. This material has an elevated risk of being highly erodible/dispersive. Clays and shales are also likely to be present in the dumps and are considered to be less competent material (relative to the BIF/chert). This paper presents the process from upfront materials assessment through detailed design to construction of the rehabilitated waste rock dumps, and post-construction sampling and testing to validate model findings.

CITATION:

Kemp, A, Taylor, I and Lamoureux, S C, 2017. Design to closure – construction of detailed rehabilitation designed iron ore waste rock dumps based on upfront site specific assessment, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 353–358 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).