MSE Wall Constructed From Worn Haul Truck Tires at the Teck Highland Valley Copper Mine
Mr Rod Kostaschuk, Mr Eric Coffin, Mr Mathieu Veillette
Mining operations often require mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls for support of infrastructure, including the construction of crushers, level pads for milling and office facilities, and roads. Traditional MSE wall systems are manufactured by specific vendors and require custom made materials that are transported to site and installed by a specialized contractor familiar with the system. This paper explains the design and construction of an innovative 16 meter high MSE wall at the Teck Highland Valley Copper mine in British Columbia. The structure utilizes worn haul truck tires for both the wall face and anchoring components. The tires are connected by steel cables. The wall has both vertical and battered segments and was constructed before relocating the primary crusher into a pocket in the wall and placing it on spread footings founded on mine waste. Re-using worn tires contributes to sustainability and reduction of the mine’s waste stream through recycling the tires for MSE wall applications, multiple times if desired. The tire MSE wall offers significant cost savings by avoiding both tire disposal costs and acquisition costs of a vendor MSE wall system. The constructability of the tire MSE wall is on par or exceeds that of traditional MSE wall systems, as the wider spacing of reinforcing elements contributes to the fast pace of construction that can be achieved. The use of haul truck tires is a practical, innovative, cost-effective and sustainable approach to MSE wall construction on mine sites, for which there are no precedents.