Mine waste dumps constructed in mountain valleys

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 79, No. 892, 1986

FREDERIC B. CLARIDGE, Piteau Engineering Ltd. Calgary, Alberta, ROBERT S. NICHOLS, Esso Resources Canada Limited,Calgary, Alberta, and ALAN F. STEWART, Piteau Associates Engineering Ltd. Vancouver, British Columbia

In recent years, an increasing number of mines in mountainous terrain have examined the possibility of placing mine waste rock into stream valleys. Pressure to utilize stream valleys as a primary location for waste disposal has increased at many of the mines currently under development or expansion. As the number of environmentally and economically ideal waste dumping sites is limited, consideration must be given to utilization of stream valleys. This raises concerns about maintaining water quality in streams passing through or beneath the dumps and potential detrimental effects to dump stability. Commonly, the flows in the streams tend to be flashy, reflecting localized intense storms and rapid runoff in steep-sided slopes within the watershed. These conditions pertain particularly to British Columbia, which is characterized by mountainous terrain and periodically intense precipitation events. The method of conveying flow through a waste dump depends on a number of geotechnical and hydrological factors, including the size, durability and transmissivity of the rock and the design stream flood flow. This paper describes the approach to the design of waste dumps in stream valleys developed at several mines in British Columbia.
Keywords: Geotechnical engineering, Coal mines, Waste dumps, Hydrogeology, Hydrology, Water quality, Environmental control, Slope stability.