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Tailings management


Mine tailings from various types of mining operations are often deposited on the area surrounding the mine site in the form of a slurry. The solids settle out over time and a tailings pile may have a number of lifts corresponding to deposition over different time intervals. The rate of drain-down of the wet tailings pile is of interest for understanding the mine site hydrology and stability of the tailings pile.


Numerical modeling of mine tailings can provide value in a number of specific areas: 1) Understanding the rate of discharge of contaminated water out of the tailings, and, 2) obtaining the pore-water pressure conditions at different deposition stages to aid in stability analysis, and, 3) estimation of long-term groundwater conditions. Problems are commonly encountered in numerical models of mine tailings due to the following reasons:

  • Mine tailings typically have irregular 3D geometry.
  • Mine tailings are often deposited in different lifts at different stages of the mine life requiring proper specification of initial conditions and staged models.
  • Mine tailings deposited as a slurry become unsaturated over time and therefore require a numerical model capable of handling the particular nonlinearities associated with unsaturated seepage modeling.

SVFlux has been successfully applied to mine tailings drain-down applications and proven itself capable of matching results obtained in the field. Specifically, the following features make SVFlux the premier tool for evaluating mine tailings drain-down operation. SoilVision Systems Ltd. also provides solutions for the large-strain numerical modeling of the consolidation process. Click here to contact us about such a solution.

Additional Articles


This benchmark presents a generic scenario of mine tailings freezing and thawing with snow cover. The snow accumulation and melt is also simulated according to the climate data of precipitation and air temperature. This benchmark demonstrates that SVHeat can predict the temperature at the surface of tailings with snow cover included.

Model filename: MineTailings > TailingsFreezeThawSnowCover.svm

Tags: MineTailings,SVHEAT,1D Vertical,Transient,1D,Mining,Tailings management,Benchmarking


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