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How to avoid permafrost while depositing tailings in cold climate
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1672-6159
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8739-2219
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1365-8552
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1935-1743
2018 (English)In: Cold Regions Science and Technology, ISSN 0165-232X, E-ISSN 1872-7441, Vol. 153, p. 86-96Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Managing tailings deposition in cold climate requires specific measures not to create permafrost. The risk of generating permafrost due to tailings deposition exists even in regions where permafrost would naturally not occur. Material being frozen during winter might not fully thaw in the following summer due to added height of the tailings on the surface. Such embedded layers of permafrost should be avoided especially close to tailing dams. Main reasons are to prevent impermeable layers in tailings facilities, and to reduce the risk of having implications if such layers thaw during warmer summers causing increase in pore water pressure, reduced effective stress, and increased water content.

This paper presents a numerical study on the effects of tailings deposition in cold regions in relation to the potential formation of permafrost. Various deposition rates, schedules and tailings properties were evaluated. One-dimensional heat conduction analyses were performed with a temperature scenario representing a mine district in northern Sweden. Results show, that the thickness of permafrost layers increase with increased deposition rate and with increased water content. It was also shown that wet and loose tailings must be deposited in short periods during summer to avoid permafrost generation. In the case of dry and dense tailings more time is available for deposition in order not to cause aggradation of permafrost in the deposit.

These findings can help mining operation to set up deposition schedules for tailings facilities in cold climate. For known tailings properties, results can be used to identify periods of the year when, and how much, tailings can be deposited in critical areas of a deposit in order to avoid permafrost formation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 153, p. 86-96
National Category
Geotechnical Engineering
Research subject
Soil Mechanics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-68963DOI: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2018.05.009ISI: 000439349800010Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85047628128OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-68963DiVA, id: diva2:1210735
Note

Validerad;2018;Nivå 2;2018-06-04 (andbra)

Available from: 2018-05-29 Created: 2018-05-29 Last updated: 2018-08-09Bibliographically approved

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Knutsson, RogerViklander, PeterKnutsson, SvenLaue, Jan

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