Scaling predictions of mine waste geochemistry with reactive transport modelling


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Scaling predictions of mine waste geochemistry with reactive transport modelling

Richard Amos (Carleton University) et al.

Leaders and affiliations : Richard Amos (Carleton University), David Blowes (University of Waterloo), David Wilson (University of Waterloo)

Description : The mining industry has worked diligently in the past decades to reduce the environmental impacts of mining to meet ever increasing regulation and heightened community awareness. An important aspect of a life-of-mine plan requires long-term planning of mining operations and waste-disposal facilities at early stages of operation to aid in the prediction of waste effluent quality. Specifically, the prediction of effluent quality from waste-rock is generally based on humidity cell leach tests on small scale (<1 kg) waste-rock samples that are scaled to large scale waste-rock stockpiles. This scaling is generally attempted using empirical scaling factors that can vary by orders of magnitude and have been shown to be highly site specific.
The Diavik Waste Rock Research Project has been ongoing since 2004 with a primary goal of developing mechanistic scaling approaches for predicting waste-rock effluent water quality. Experiments at multiple scales, including humidity cell experiments, 2-m scale field lysimeters and 15-m test-scale waste-rock piles, have been studied in detail to characterize effluent quality and the relevant geochemical and physical parameters. Recent work has shown that at the Diavik site humidity cell leaching rates can be scaled to larger scale field experiments using a well-established mechanistic conceptual model and measured parameters at each scale. This method has been applied using reactive transport modelling to rigorously account for complex geochemical and physical interactions.
This scaling method is shown to be successful at the Diavik site but is intended to provide industry with a tool that can be applied to any mining site where waste rock is a concern. The goal of this short course is to introduce industry and other researchers to the scaling method, and the tools used to employ the method, so that the method can be tested and put to use at other mine sites.
The target audience will be primarily practitioners in the mining community as well as other researchers. We anticipate consultants, regulators and mining personnel to have a direct interest in these scaling techniques. Researchers involved in mine waste management will find this workshop relevant. Within these groups we expect a range of participants from experienced professionals interested in the conceptual approach, to more junior staff that will find the hands-on approach relevant to their careers.

Number of participants (Min/Max) : to be determined

Language : english

Duration : 2 days

Date : Pre-Congress

Associated special session / Field trip : to be determined