In-pit Tailings Disposal at Langer Heinrich – Tailings Storage Facilities in a Unique Hydrogeological Setting

Author(s): 
Cameron Hore and Dave Luppnow
Date: 
Monday, July 27, 2015
First presented: 
Tailings and Mine Waste Management 2015
Type: 
Presentation
Category: 
Mine Waste

In-pit tailings storage can provide many advantages when compared to typical above-ground tailings storage facilities (TSFs).  As regulations become more restrictive and existing mines expand into new pits, the motivation and opportunities for in-pit tailings disposal is increasing. The Langer Heinrich uranium orebody follows a palaeo-river channel and is mined as an open pit operation.  The mine pits intersect two main aquifer systems, one at the surface and one at the base of the orebody/pits.  The tailings storage methodology is full in-pit disposal in multiple TSFs for the life-of-mine.  Continuity of the initial hydrogeological conditions is incorporated in the design by the use of the pervious surround concept and the reinstatement of the lower aquifer (palaeochannel aquifer) at the base of the pit.  Containment embankments are required to facilitate the staging of the TSFs development and are constructed using waste rock liberated during the mining of the pits.  All of the TSFs are equipped with decant structures and an underdrainage system is included to improve water recovery, enhance consolidation and increase tailings density.

This paper presents the design of a unique in-pit tailings storage solution for the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia owned by Paladin Energy Ltd.

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