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Project Overview

Project Number
M0430
Total Grant Value
$350,000
MRIWA Contribution
$120,000
Project Theme
Processing Technology
Project Period
2014 - 2016

The Challenge

Potential seepage from Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF) is a key risk for any mining or mineral processing operation.

Accurate procedures for the assessment and management of seepage are at the forefront of the environmental licence to operate required for any new mining operation permit.

Key Findings

Permeability may not be homogeneous throughout a tailings dam profile.

Correctly accounting for stress-dependent variability in permeability of dam materials makes an important contribution to improving estimates of seepage rates from tailings dams, and to assessing corresponding structural weakness that may lead to dam failure.

Benefits to WA

A reliable model to assess TSF construction specifications and predict potential seepage would provide both industry and environmental regulators with valuable knowledge that could underpin a low-environmental-risk TSF management strategy, supporting the social licence to operate that is essential to the long-term sustainable future of the mining sector in WA.


Keywords: tailings storage facilities, seepage, permeability, phreatic surface, modelling, slope stability

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Page was last reviewed 25 May 2021

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