Advertisement

Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 935–951 | Cite as

Undrained Strength of Deposited Mine Tailings Beds: Effect of Water Content, Effective Stress and Time of Consolidation

  • Rozalina S. Dimitrova
  • Ernest K. Yanful
Technical note

Abstract

An understanding of the geotechnical behaviour of mine tailings is imperative when evaluating the stability and erosional resistance of sedimented tailings beds; as well as for the design and long-term management of tailings disposal facilities. Laboratory testing was conducted on mine tailings beds of various ages and thicknesses, deposited from concentrated slurries. Measured index properties allowed classifying the tailings as a coarse grained and non-cohesive material. The results obtained from the performed sedimentation experiments showed that the primary consolidation of the tailings beds was complete in approximately 1 h and negligible volume changes occurred in the beds during secondary compression. The undrained shear strength of the tailings beds was measured using an automated fall cone device at a depth interval of 1 cm and a profile of the shear strength variation with depth was obtained. At each tested surface, moisture content specimens were taken to determine the moisture content profile of the tested tailings beds. The undrained shear strength of the beds varied between 0.008 and 0.975 kPa for effective stresses below 1.19 kPa and increased with depth. Correspondingly, the moisture content decreased with depth and varied between 17 and 27%. The factor controlling the undrained shear strength of the tested beds was the vertical effective stress, with the water content also having some secondary effect. The correlation between the undrained shear strength and the vertical effective stress was expressed with a second order polynomial function. Consolidation time did not appear to influence the observed shear strength.

Keywords

Mine tailings Undrained shear strength Consolidation behaviour Variation with depth 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by research grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

References

  1. Adu-Wusu C, Yanful EK, Mian MH (2001) Field evidence of resuspension in a mine tailings pond. Can Geotech J 38:796–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexis A, Le Bras G, Thomas P (2004) Experimental bench for study of settling-consolidation soil formation. Geotech Test J 27(6):557–567Google Scholar
  3. Azevedo RF, de Campos TM, Alves MCM, Villar LF (1994) Sedimentation and consolidation of a neutralized red mud. In: Macari EJ, Frost JD, Pumarada LF (eds) Geoenvironmental issues facing the Americas. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, pp 111–114Google Scholar
  4. Been K, Sills GC (1981) Self-weight consolidation of soft soils: an experimental and theoretical study. Gèotechnique 31(4):519–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blight G, Bentel G (1983) The behaviour of mine tailings during hydraulic deposition. J S Afr Inst Min Metall 83(4):73–86Google Scholar
  6. Bowles JE (1986) Engineering properties of soils and their measurement, 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill Inc., USA, pp 70–71Google Scholar
  7. British Standards Institution, Standard BS 1377-2 (1990) Methods of test for soils for civil engineering purposes, part 2: classification tests. British Standards Institution, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Bussière B (2007) Colloquium 2004: hydrogeotechnical properties of hard rock tailings from metal mines and emerging geoenvironmental disposal approaches. Can Geotech J 44:1019–1052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Canadian Standards Association and Bureau de normalisation du Quebec, Standard CAN/BNQ 2501-092 (2006) Soils—determination of liquid limit by the fall cone penetrometer and determination of plastic limit. Bureau de normalisation du Quebec, QuebecGoogle Scholar
  10. Catalan LJ, Yanful EK (2002) Sediment-trap measurements of suspended mine tailings in shallow water cover. J Environ Eng 128(1):19–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chong YS, Ratkowsky DA, Epstein N (1979) Effect of particle shape on hindered settling in creeping flow. Powder Technol 23:55–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davies R (1968) The experimental study of the differential settling of particles in suspension at high concentrations. Powder Technol 2(1):43–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Di Felice R, Parodi E (1996) Wall effects on the sedimentation velocity of suspensions in viscous flow. AlChE J 42(4):927–931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elder DMcG, Sills GC (1985) Thickening and consolidation of sediment due to self weight. In: Moudgil BM, Somasundaran P (eds) Flocculation, sedimentation and consolidation. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York, pp 349–362Google Scholar
  15. Farrell E (1997) ETC. 5 fall-cone study. Ground Eng 30(1):33–36Google Scholar
  16. Feng TW (2000) Fall-cone penetration and water content relationship of clays. Gèotechnique 50(2):181–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Feng TW (2002) Discussion on “Persussin and cone methods of determining the liquid limit of soils” by A. Sridharan and K. Prakash. Geotech Test J 25(1):104–105Google Scholar
  18. Hansbo S (1957) A new approach to determination of the shear strength of clay by the fall cone test. In: Proceedings of the Royal Swedish Geotechnical Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, Publication No. 14, pp 7–47Google Scholar
  19. Holtz R, Kovacs W (1981) An introduction to geotechnical engineering. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 07632, USAGoogle Scholar
  20. Houlsby GT (1982) Theoretical analysis of the fall cone test. Gèotechnique 32(2):111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Imai G (1981) Experimental studies on sedimentation mechanism and sediment formation of clay materials. Soils Found 21(1):7–20Google Scholar
  22. Jeeravipoolvarn S, Scott JD, Chalaturnyk RJ (2009) 10 m standpipe tests on oil sand tailings: long-term experimental results and prediction. Can Geotech J 46:975–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Komnitsas K, Bartzas G, Paspaliaris I (2004) Efficiency of limestone and red mud barriers: laboratory column studies. Miner Eng 17(2):183–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kynch GL (1952) A theory of sedimentation. Trans Faraday Soc 48:166–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leroueil S, Le Bihan JP (1996) Liquid limits and fall cones. Can Geotech J 33:793–798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. McGregor RG, Blowes DW, Jambor JL, Robertson WD (1998) Mobilization and attenuation of heavy metals within a nickel mine tailings impoundment near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Environ Geol 36(3/4):305–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mehta AJ, Parchure TM, Dixit JG, Ariathurai R (1982) Resuspension potential of deposited cohesive sediment beds. In: Kennedy VS (ed) Estuarine comparisons. Academic Press, New York, pp 591–609Google Scholar
  28. Mehta AJ, Hayter EJ, Parker ER, Krone RB, Teeter AM (1989) Cohesive sediment transport. I: process description. J Hydraul Eng 115(8):1076–1093Google Scholar
  29. Mesri G (1975) Discussion of “New design procedure for stability of soft clays”. ASCE J Geotech Eng Div 101:409–412Google Scholar
  30. Mesri G (1989) A reevaluation of s u(mob) = 0.22σp′ using laboratory shear tests. Can Geotech J 26(1):163–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mesri G (2001) Undrained shear strength of soft clays from push cone penetration test. Gèotechnique 51(2):167–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mittal H, Morgenstern N (1975) Parameters for the design of tailings dams. Can Geotech J 12:235–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Newson T, Fujiyasu Y, Fahey M (1996) A field study of the consolidation behaviour of saline gold tailings. Proceedings of 3rd international conference on tailings and mine waste. A. A. Balkema Publishers, Roterdam, pp 179–188Google Scholar
  34. Pane V, Schiffman RL (1985) A note on sedimentation and consolidation. Gèotechnique 35(1):69–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Prachure TM, Mehta AJ (1985) Erosion of soft cohesive sediment deposits. ASCE J Hydraul Eng 111(10):1308–1326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Prakash K, Sridharan A (2006) Critical appraisal of the cone penetration method of determining soil plasticity. Can Geotech J 43:884–888CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Qiu Y, Sego D (2001) Laboratory properties of mine tailings. Can Geotech J 38:183–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ranjan G, Rao A (2000) Basic and applied soil mechanics, 2nd edn. New Age International (P) Publishers, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  39. Richardson JF, Zaki WN (1954) Sedimentation and fluidisation: part I. Trans Inst Chem Eng 32:82–100Google Scholar
  40. Samad MA, Yanful EK (2005) A design approach for selecting the optimum water cover depth for subaqueous disposal of sulphide mine tailings. Can Geotech J 42:207–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Seneviratne N, Fahey M, Newson T, Fujiyasu Y (1996) Numerical modelling of consolidation and evaporation of slurried mine tailings. Int J Numer Anal Methods Geomech 20:647–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shamsai A, Pak A, Bateni S, Ayatollahi S (2007) Geotechnical characteristics of copper mine tailings: a case study. Geotech Geol Eng 25:591–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sharma B, Bora PK (2003) Plastic limit, liquid limit and undrained shear strength of soil—reappraisal. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 129(8):774–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shaw SC, Groat LA, Jambor JL, Blowes DW, Hanton-Fong CJ, Stuparyk RA (1998) Mineralogical study of base metal tailings with various sulfide contents, oxidized in laboratory columns and field lysimeters. Environ Geol 33(2/3):209–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sridharan A, Prakash K (1999) Mechanisms controlling the undrained shear strength behaviour of clays. Can Geotech J 36(6):1030–1038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sridharan A, Prakash K (2000) Percussion and cone methods of determining the liquid limits of soils: controlling mechanisms. Geotech Test J 23(2):236–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sridharan A, Prakash K (2003) Self weight consolidation: compressibility behaviour of segregated and homogeneous fine grained sediments. Mar Georesour Geotechnol 21:73–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. ASTM, Standard D 2487 (1997) Classification of soils for engineering purposes. Annual book of ASTM standards. American Society for Testing and Materials, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  49. Swedish Standards Commission, Standard SS 027120 (1990) Geotechnical tests—cone liquid limit. Swedish Standards Commission, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  50. Terzaghi K (1942) Theoretical soil mechanics. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  51. Tolhurst T, Black K, Paterson D, Mitchener H, Termaat G, Shayler S (2000) A comparison and measurement standardisation of four in situ devices for determining the erosion shear stress of intertidal sediments. Cont Shelf Res 20:1397–1418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Toorman EA (1996) Sedimentation and self-weight consolidation: general unifying theory. Géotechnique 46(1):103–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Toorman EA (1999) Sedimentation and self-weight consolidation: constitutive equations and numerical modelling. Gèotechnique 49(6):709–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vick SG (1990) Planning, analysis, and design of tailings dams, 2nd edn. BiTech Publishers, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  55. Volpe R (1979) Physical and engineering properties of copper tailings. Proceedings of current geotechnical practice in mine waste disposal. American Society of Civil Engineering, New York, pp 242–260Google Scholar
  56. Wasti Y, Bezirci MH (1985) Determination of the consistency limits of soils by the fall cone test. Can Geotech J 23:241–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wood DM, Wroth CP (1978) The use of cone penetrometer to determine the plastic limit of soils. Ground Eng 11(3):37Google Scholar
  58. Yanful EK, Verma A (1999) Oxidation of flooded mine tailings due to resuspension. Can Geotech J 36:826–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zreik DA, Ladd CC, Germaine JT (1995) A new fall cone device for measuring the undrained strength of vey weak cohesive soils. Geotech Test J 18(4):472–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zreik DA, Germaine JT, Ladd CC (1997) Undrained strength of ultra-weak cohesive soils: relationship between water content and effective stress. Soils Found 37(3):117–128Google Scholar
  61. Zreik DA, Germaine JT, Ladd CC (1998) Effect of aging and stress history on the undrained strength of ultra-weak cohesive soils. Soils Found 38(4):31–39Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

Personalised recommendations