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  • 1.
    Bhanbhro, Riaz
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Edeskär, Tommy
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Mechanical Properties of Soft Tailings from a Swedish Tailings Impoundment: Results from Direct Shear Tests2014In: The Electronic journal of geotechnical engineering, ISSN 1089-3032, E-ISSN 1089-3032, Vol. 19, no Z, p. 9023-9039Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The shear strength of tailings can vary depending upon the type of ore and method of construction. Tailings dams may possess loose layers in subsequent layers, which may have low shear strength. Since the tailings dams are made-up to last for longer times, the strength parameters and material behaviors are essential to understand, especially potential for static liquefaction in loose layers. This article presents the results from direct shear tests performed on samples from loose layer of a tailings dam. Both drained and undrained tests are carried out. The results indicated the strain hardening behavior in tailings material which indicates loose condition. The shear strength was found to be relatively low as compared to typical values of tailings in literature. A contractant volume behavior was observed for all the tests. During shear tests the vertical height reductions in samples were observed. These changes were significantly increased after peak shear followed by slight increment in pore pressure along shearing angle. The reasons for these height changes are not fully known, but may be a rearrangement in skeleton or breakage of particles during shear which needs further investigative studies.

  • 2.
    Bhanbhro, Riaz
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Edeskär, Tommy
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Mechanical Properties of Soft Tailings from different Depths of a Swedish Tailings Dam: Results from Triaxial tests2018In: Scientia Iranica. International Journal of Science and Technology, ISSN 1026-3098, E-ISSN 2345-3605, Vol. 25, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Construction of tailings dams is done in stages by raising it layer by layer depending on production rate of a mine. These layered dams may possess different strengths and materials properties in each layer i.e. strength parameters, behavior with loading. Tailings dams may have loose layers in subsequent layers, which upon further loading may be susceptible to stability issues. Identification of material properties and behavior is important to know for safety of dam with further raising and long term perspective modeling. This paper presents the results from drained Triaxial compression tests conducted on samples collected from loose layers, from different vertical depths of a tailings dam. The results indicated that depth did not show much influence on strength parameters determined by drained triaxial tests. The different confining pressures influenced the strain-stress behavior, high confining pressures stress-strain curve showed tendency to formulate straighten line of stress-strain curve, with contractant volume behavior along axial strains. The influence of void ratio on effective stress ratio was observed.

  • 3.
    Bhanbhro, Riaz
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Rodriguez, Juan
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Edeskär, Tommy
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Basic description of tailings from Aitik focusing on mechanical behavior2013In: International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering, ISSN 2250-2459, E-ISSN 2250-2459, Vol. 3, no 12, p. 65-69Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Tailings are artificial granular materials that behave different as compared to natural soil of equal grain sizes. Tailings particle sizes, shapes, gradation and mechanical behavior may influence the performance of tailings dams. Hence it is essential to understand the tailings materials in depth. This article describes present studies being carried out on Aitik tailings. Basic tailings characteristics including specific gravity, phase relationships, particle sizes, particle shapes and direct shear behavior are presented in this article. The results showed that particles size decreases along depth from surface for collected sample locations. The angularity of the particles increases as the grain size decreases. Vertical height reduction was observed during shearing of samples by direct shear tests.

  • 4.
    Bjelkevik, Annika
    et al.
    Tailings Consultants Scandinavia AB.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Dam stability: How to verify the actual stability?2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Mining operations produce huge volumes of waste products. Tailings, the fine grained waste material, is often managed in tailings management facilities (TMFs) surrounded by dam structures, i.e. tailings dams. Stability of tailings dams, amongst other things, is an in-creasing concern as tailings dams continue to fail. There is not just one single reason why dam failures occur. Dam stability is, however, one of the keystones required for good tailings management and good tailings dam safety. Dam stability can be divided into two main parts: a) stability analysis and b) surveillance and monitoring. The first is carried out at the initial design (normally by consultants) and is thereafter updated during operation of the TMF. A commonly used method for the analysis is the limit equilibrium method (LE). Here a factor of safety (FS) is calculated and in Sweden this is normally 1,5. In order to verify the behavior of the dam surveillance and monitoring is used. Typically pore pressures, horizontal and vertical movements and seepage are monitored in order to find changes in the trend of readings or to identify unexpected behavior. There is, however, no way of linking the readings to the stability analysis as the LE analyses are based on analysis of the conditions at failure. Thus it is not possible to describe the behavior of the dam before failure and the monitoring cannot be used to “give” warning signals before failure. This paper describes a case study where advanced numerical modelling, have been used to determine deformations in the dam structure, which have been verified by inclinometer readings. It has been possible to verify the actual stability for the dam as it has been possible to link in-situ readings to the model. The concept described is not only applicable to tailings dams, but can also be used for any type of dam.

  • 5.
    Hassellund, Lovisa
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Mattsson, Hans
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Numerical analysis of an upstream tailings dam2016In: Proceedings of Nordic Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical NGM: Reykjavik, Iceland 25th – 28th of May 2016, 2016, p. 727-736Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents a case study of how the finite element methodcan be utilized to analyze stability of upstream tailings dams. Upstream tailings dams are usually raised gradually and the increased load normallyinfluencesthe stability in an unfavorableway;the load generatesexcess pore water pressures and reduced stability. In this study, an upstream tailings dam in Northern Sweden wasnumericallysimulated with the finite element software PLAXIS 2D in order to assess the stability of the dam. Upstream tailings dams are sensitive to high raising rates since initiated excess pore water pressures might not have time to dissipate. Stability analysis of a tailings damis an application that is very suitable to carry out using finite element software; once a finite element model of thecomplex geometry of adam has been established, it is easy to stepwiseadd new soil volumes, associated with each new raising, to the model.In this case study, it was found that strengthening actions were needed in order to maintain a stable structure. Rockfill berms weregradually added onthe downstream slope of the model to obtaina factor of safety above a recommended value. The volumes of rockfill needed for the berms wereminimized by numerical optimization to reduce costs. The stability betweenthe years2024 and2034 was analyzed; with an annual deposition cycle. The performednumerical studyresulted in a future plan for placement of rockfill berms to establishsufficient stability ofthe tailings dam. It was found that the volume of rockfill in the berms needed, varied during the years studied. Numerical modeling, as presented in this paper, is a useful tool for the dam owner to plan and design for future raisings of a tailings dam

  • 6.
    Hassellund, Lovisa
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Mattsson, Hans
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Numerical Simulations of Stability of a Gradually Raised Upstream Tailings Dam in Northern Sweden2016In: The Electronic journal of geotechnical engineering, ISSN 1089-3032, E-ISSN 1089-3032, Vol. 21, no 13, p. 4699-4720Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents a case study where numerical modeling, with the finite element method, has been utilized to assess future stability of a tailings dam in Northern Sweden. The finite element software PLAXIS was utilized to simulate future dike raisings for the years 2024 to 2034. The simulations were conducted by computing each dike raising, the subsequent consolidation of the soil and the stability of the dam during the process. The factors of safety directly after each dike raising resulted in values continuously below a recommended value of 1.5. To increase the dam stability, rockfill berms were stepwise added on the downstream slope of the dam. An optimization technique was applied to place as small volumes of rockfill as possible in the berms at the most suitable locations on the downstream slope. By adding various volumes of rockfill in the berms each year, sufficient stability of the dam was obtained in the simulations. The excess pore water pressures increased annually in the simulations. It was shown that the excess pore water pressures did not totally dissipate before the following dike was constructed. The highest excess pore water pressures were located deep in the impoundment and did not have large effects on the dam stability.

  • 7.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    On the behaviour of tailings dams: Management in cold regions2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Associated to mining activities there is mine waste generated. The residues left over from mineralextraction processes are referred to as tailings, normally stored in surface tailings facilities. Thefacilities are usually confined by embankment dams, so called tailings dams. Sufficient stability of thetailings dams is essential, and a proper management of the tailings is needed in order to maintain asafe storage. However, optimal strategies for tailings management are very much site specific, andthere is no universal answer on how tailings management should be applied. Despite the availableguidelines, recommendations and current trends in the industry on how to handle tailings, theremust be a pertinent approach to optimize tailings management to the site-specific conditions.

    The aim with the work presented in this thesis is to enhance current practice in tailings managementin cold regions. Three sets of research objectives are presented, from which recommendations will begiven on how management can be adjusted for site-specific conditions.

    Firstly, depositional aspects in cold climate are studied. A methodology is proposed where thethermal regime is studied in a tailings facility with active deposition, i.e. raised tailings surface, andconcurrent freezing and thawing. Despite the fact that there is no natural permafrost in Sweden, thedeposition can imply generation of “man-made” permafrost in the facilities. The model is simple andeasily accessible data are used as input. With a proposed methodology, deposition schedules can bemodelled, and the deposition scheme can be adjusted in order to prevent permafrost generation intailings facilities.

    In addition to the depositional aspects in cold climate, a study is presented focusing on thaw stabilityof tailings beach slopes. The tailings beach is the inclined surface of settled tailings without pondedwater. For conventional tailings deposition, the beach slopes are relatively flat and the need for thawstability analyses is trivial. However, there is a current trend of adopting thickened tailingstechnology where steeper beach slopes are one of the intended merits. The increased slopeinclination might be unstable with major seasonal freezing and thawing. In rapid thaw excess porewater pressure might be generated, creating instability where masses of tailings can slide along a stillfrozen interface. Increased storage capacity, or freeboard, along the surrounding dams might beneeded, and the intended merits with the thickened tailings technology might be lost.

    Secondly, a study on the determination of strength parameters on granular soil is presented. Simpleshear tests are widely used particularly in Sweden for soil strength determination. However, recentstudies on tailings indicate large differences on the evaluated strength compared to what isdetermined via triaxial testing. In this thesis a laboratory study is presented, where simple sheartesting and triaxial testing were conducted. The results were used for examining the Swedishguidelines on simple shear testing and associated strength determination. It was found that directapplication of strength determined by simple shear testing leads to incorrect design assumptions.

    Thirdly, a study on prediction and verification of tailings dam stability is presented. Dam stability iscentral in tailings management, and a convenient way to describe the safety is via the factor of safety(FoS). Although the FoS can be predicted via calculations, it cannot be measured directly in the field.Therefore, in order to verify the calculated stability, field measurements must be used to comparewith the anticipated performance. With good agreement the prediction indicate reliableunderstanding of the dam, and the predicted stability can be verified. Without good agreement, thestability is easily questioned.

    Based on findings from the three sections presented in the thesis, recommendations are given ontailings management in cold regions. With increased knowledge in the field of tailings deposition incold climate, shear parameter determination and overall dam stability assessment, current practice intailings management is enhanced.

  • 8.
    Knutsson, Roger
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Tailings Dam Performance: Modeling and Safety Analysis of a Tailings dam2015Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Storage and management of mine waste are both needed in the mining industry. After mineral extraction of the ore, there are generally leftovers with insufficient economical value that need to be taken care of. The finest grained fractions are referred to as tailings. Since every mine site and every tailings impoundment is unique, there is unfortunately not an universal answer to proper management that can be applied everywhere. Even though local guidelines and regulations can be considered to give a best practice in terms of design, there is correspondingly a need for dam safety stewardship on an operational level. Without such stewardship, not even the best designed dams or facilities would be fully controlled in terms of safety. Conversely, even badly designed dams can be operated in safe manners with good stewardship and surveillance programs. The coupling between design and stewardship is therefore important in order to reach proper tailingsmanagement.In the design of tailings dams, a certain value of the factor of safety for slopes of the dams is normally striven for to secure stability. The value is generally based on national regulations and/or guidelines. In Sweden the factor of safety should not be lower than 1.5 under normal conditions. In the guidelines, recommendations are often given on dam surveillance and field measurements of e.g. pore water pressure, deformations and seepage. Field measurements are taken, but are generally assessed in terms of trends (change with time) and not by comparison to anticipated performance.In this study, numerical modeling has been used for stability analyses and dam performance, as predictions of deformations and pore water pressure levels. An upstream tailings dam located in northern Sweden has been used as a case. The granular materials being part of the model based were described based upon geotechnical investigations (field and lab). The tailings material was modeled, on a constitutive level, by the Hardening Soil model. Good agreement betweensimulated behavior and laboratory tests was achieved. Other dam materials were simulated by the Mohr-Coulomb model.The model was built as a staged construction model where historical events between 1992 and 2013 were simulated. The historical events included dam raises, increased beach elevations, remedial works etc. The simulations of historical events were used for facilitating comparison with field measurements. By means of inclinometer data, horizontal deformations were measured and evaluated for a period of six years. These deformations were accurately simulated, which was considered to verify the numerical model. By this verification, the model is considered accurate enough to be used for simulating future events. Both stability and corresponding dam performance were computed, by simulating a period of 10 years. The stability analyses were used for the set-up of rockfill support plans, i.e. where and when remedial works are needed in order to maintain a certain safety level. The corresponding values in deformations and pore water pressures were used for the set-up of alert levels for each measuring unit. These alert levels will help the engineer in field with data interpretation, where the simulated values are compared with field measurements taken. The proposed methodology is recommended for tailings dams in general, which reduces the gap between design and stewardship. Hence, one step closer to proper tailings management is taken.

  • 9.
    Knutsson, Roger
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Bjelkevik, Annika
    Tailings Consultants Scandinavia AB.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Importance of tailings properties for closure2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 10.
    Knutsson, Roger
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Bjelkevik, Annika
    Tailings Consultants Scandinavia AB.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Slope stability in landform design2016In: Mine Closure 2016 / [ed] A.B. Fourie; M. Tibbett, Perth: Australian Centre for Geomechanics, 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Knutsson, Roger
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Viklander, Peter
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Benefits of Advanced Constitutive Modeling when Estimating Deformations in a Tailings Dam2018In: Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering, ISSN 1792-9040, E-ISSN 1792-9660, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 1-19Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Behavior of tailings dams are often controlled in dam surveillance programs where horizontal deformation is one of the key aspects. When evaluating field data, there is a necessity for comparison with anticipated deformations in order to relate field behavior to dam stability. With numerical modeling, these predictions can be made. This paper presents a case where horizontal deformations in a tailings dam have been simulated for a six-year period, using two-dimensional finite element modeling. Yearly dam raises have been simulated as staged constructions according to activities at site. Tailings materials have been simulated with an elasto-plastic constitutive model with isotropic hardening, called Hardening Soil and the conventional linear-elastic, perfectly plastic Mohr-Coulomb model. Soil parameters used for input were calibrated to laboratory data. Results from simulations were compared with data obtained in situ by a slope inclinometer. Results obtained by the Hardening Soil model indicate good agreement with respect to field measurements. However, this was not reached with the Mohr-Coulomb model. The results presented indicate benefits by using an advanced constitutive model for tailings in order to estimate in situ deformations in a tailings dam. The methodology presented can be used for prediction of future deformations, in order to relate the dam behavior to its stability. This is important in dam safety assessment, and will lead to a better understanding of the dam safety, being of great importance for the dam owner and the society in general.

  • 12.
    Knutsson, Roger
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Viklander, Peter
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Stability considerations for thickened tailings due to freezing and thawing2016In: Paste 2016: Proceedings of the 19th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings / [ed] Sergio Barrea & Richard Jewell, Santiago: GECAMIN, 2016, p. 567-577Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 13.
    Knutsson, Roger
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Viklander, Peter
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    The use of numerical modelling in alert level set-up for instrumentation in tailings dams2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In dam safety operations for tailings dams, instrumentation has a major role. High pore-water pressure or large deformations can both be observed with good monitoring programs, and are covered in many dam safety guidelines. A key aspect when evaluating field data is the way to compare values with expected dam behavior (including a certain safety margin). This is needed in order to determine the safety of a dam, but there is lack of methods for this in the dam industry. With the use of finite element modeling, the behavior and stability of tailings dams can be simulated. Simulated behavior can be used in dam safety operations, where field data is compared with numerical results. In this paper, a case study is presented where a method for instrumentation alarm-level set-up is proposed.

  • 14.
    Knutsson, Roger
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Viklander, Peter
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Knutsson, Sven
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Laue, Jan
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.
    Geothermal study to explain man-made permafrost in tailings with raised surface2018In: Environmental Earth Sciences, ISSN 1866-6280, E-ISSN 1866-6299, Vol. 77, no 7, article id 288Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Deposition of mine tailings in a cold climate requires precautions as temporary sub-zero temperatures can imply considerable consequences to the storage due to creation of permafrost. The risk of creating man-made permafrost lenses due to tailings deposition exists even in regions with no natural permafrost, as material being frozen during winter might not fully thaw by the following summer. When such frozen layers thaw during later longer warmer periods, excess pore water pressure and large settlements might develop. Such implications close to the dam structure have to be avoided and therefore the risk of generating permafrost should be reduced. This paper describes a geothermal model for one-dimensional heat conduction analysis. The model is able to simulate the temperature profile in tailings where the surface elevation is constantly increased due to deposition. At the tailings surface, the boundary condition is the air temperature changing over time during the year. Air temperatures, tailings deposition schedule and tailings properties are given as input to the model and can easily be changed and applied to specific facilities. The model can be used for tailings facilities in cold regions, where the effects of tailings deposition on the temperature regime are of interest. Findings can improve tailings management by explaining man-made permafrost generation. The model can also aid in setting up appropriate deposition schedules and to prevent generation of permafrost layers.

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