The Environment Centres at the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) are working with international engineering, geosciences and environmental consultancy firm Klohn Crippen Berger (KCB) to advance understanding of the long-term behaviour of mine tailings.
Researchers Dr Thomas Baumgartl and Dr Mansour Edraki will lead the work focussing on assessing the impact of repeated wetting-drying cycles on the aging of mine tailings.
Dr Baumgartl said there was a current lack of knowledge on the impact of tailings aging on the water and geochemical balance modelling for tailings storage facilities. He indicated a research need with respect to the quantification of a range of hydrological, geomechanical and geochemical parameters specific to mine tailings that take into account the influence of tailings consolidation and weathering effects as tailings aging occurs.
KCB representatives Len Murray, the Vancouver-based President and CEO, and Chris Strachotta, the Brisbane-based Manager – Strategy & Growth, met with Professor David Mulligan, SMI Director of Environment Centres, Research Manager Ian Callow and Dr Baumgartl this week to confirm the arrangement.
“The SMI is very pleased to be working with KCB on this very relevant and important research topic and the opportunity this provides as the first step in a long and mutually-beneficial relationship,” Professor Mulligan said.
Mr Murray said he looked forward to KCB working with SMI.
“The research we are undertaking here will lead to a better understanding in the industry of the long-term behaviour of tailings and how to manage such a crucial part of the mining process through the mine lifecycle,” Mr Murray said.