Surface stabilization of tailing disposal areas at Wabush Mines, Labrador

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 829, 1981

EDGAR L HORNER, Wabush Mines Wabush, Labrador

The objectives of the Wabush Mines tailings stabilization program are to control dust lift-off and to rehabilitate the disposal area. The evolution of the program started with test plots in 1970, these being continued and expanded upon through 1974. In 1976, a 35-acre vegetation field trial was attempted and failed, part of the failure being attributed to lack of adequate equipment. Subsequently, equipment was purchased and during the summer of 1979-80 extensive areas were treated. The program was also expanded to include the evaluation of chemical and water spray stabilization versus vegetation in areas where shorter-term control is required. In addition, during the summers of 1979-80, spruce bog material was spread over about 100 acres and seeded.The approach to reclamation by vegetation at Wabush is one of soil building. Work to this point indicates that iron ore tailings can be converted to a soil capable of supporting plants. Plans for the Wabush tailings disposal area should make dust lift-off from inactive tailings areas negligible within the next few years.
Keywords: Open-pit mining, Tailings disposal, Reclamation, Vegetation, Wabush Mines, Soils, Dust control.