- After two years of planning and one year of construction, the West Wall at the Mount Isa Mines Tailings Dam is complete
- They experienced difficulties preparing the foundation with five different geologies needing to be considered, and a scarcity of suitable construction materials
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“Trials in each geology began on site in 2017 and the results enabled us to set the strategy and methodology for grouting.”Building the wall involved establishing a grout curtain, construction of a clay trench, sand filter blanket, rock fill and general fill to form the body of the wall and installation of a lining system. Being a new dam, a grout curtain which involved pressure grouting the foundation through drilling and grouting to a depth of 18 metres, was required to control seepage. Construction of the earth fill components of the dam required two crews of 10 skilled personnel on rotating shifts which included project supervisors, operators and engineers. The crew followed a methodology that allowed placement and compaction of earth materials in layers which were then tested individually to ensure construction specifications were met. A quality management plan was also prepared to enable appropriate quality control and quality assurance during dam construction to make sure that all design components of the dam were satisfied. Naren says this is also the first tailings dam on the Mount Isa Mines site that is lined with a geosynthetic clay layer and high density polyethylene sheeting.
“The major challenge during installation of the liners was the hot weather conditions, and at times temperature of the liner reached 85 degrees Celsius,” Naren says.
“The overall project was completed safely and it’s a great accomplishment for all the personnel involved.” “Some operators were quite new at the start of the dam wall construction but progressed to being competent operators at the completion of the project.”
“This really is one of the significant achievements of the project and the knowledge sharing between the senior operators with the crew really helped in achieving our production and construction targets.”Originally published by Mount Isa Mines.
- The Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative (insights, key findings, what’s coming, and how to prepare for the next round of questions)
- The upcoming global tailings standards
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