The Analytical Challenge

Mining design is very often in mountainous terrain that is highly variable in elevation. Recent requirements in mining design have also necessitated geotechnical engineering designs to push the limits of current science and build higher, or excavate deeper. 3D analysis is often required due to the highly varying topography and geo-strata which can vary in all three dimensions. Slope stability, seepage analysis and stress-deformation analysis are often requires to be able to perform in 2D or 3D.

The SVOFFICE™ Solution

SVOFFICE™ provides the perfect mining package for such analysis given that the primary packages of SVSLOPE®, SVFLUX™, and SVSOLID™ all provide 3D analysis. The SVDESIGNER™ module provides the ideal interface to geological mining packages such as VULCAN, SURPAC, or Minesite and allows the importing of triangulated meshes as well as intersection of surfaces to build well-formed 3D models in a fraction of the time as usually required. The advanced features with SVSLOPE® such as multi-plane analysis (MPA) allow the analysis of large engineering structures at any location and therefore take much of the guesswork out of the numerical modeling. Climatic interface features in SVFLUX™ calculate actual evaporation (AE) and are critical for the water balance calculations for tailings ponds and open pits. The new WR suite provides high-end finite element calculations based on the FEHM solver and therefore the regional water flow around large mining structures can be computed. Heap leach unsaturated flow and fate and transport of solutions in a heap leach pile are an ideal application of the WR suite of products.

 

  • The Challenge
    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 layers corresponding to deposition over different time intervals. It is crucial to determine the rate at which the tailings settle due to self-weight. This process is known as "consolidation" and is key for determining the time-rate at which tailings can be deposited in a facility and when a facility will reach capacity.

    The Solution
    SVFLUX™ & SVSOLID™ can be coupled in order to calculate the dissipation of pore-water pressures due to large-strain consolidation. Such calculations can be performed in 1D, 2D, or 3D. 2D and 3D numerical models are ideal for determining the location of drains at the bottom or sides of the tailings pit. The products have been utilized extensively for the tailings calculation of uranium, gold, and oil-sand tailings.

    Software Solutions
    SVFLUX™, SVSOLID™, SVDESIGNER

  • The Challenge
    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.

    The Solution
    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

      Software Solutions
      SVFLUX™, SVSOLID™, SVDESIGNER

    1. The Challenge
      Ponds can be used in the storage of a wide range of fluids. As such they have potential environmental and thermal impacts on the surrounding soils. Ponds can cause flow gradients out to the surrounding areas and therefore carry contaminants to groundwater. Ponds of fluid create a thermal regime around them. This is particularly true for ponds in a northern climate. It is often useful to determine the potential thermal regime around such ponds. For example:

          * How much de-thawing of the permafrost is possible in a pond of warm fluid in a northern climate?

          * How does a pond of warm liquid impact the temperature of the surrounding cold groundwater?

          * What mass of contaminant will reach groundwater?

          *How will a geomembrane leak affect performance?

        *How much flow will be present through the unsaturated zone?

      The Solution
      SVFLUX™ can be used to model the water flow out of a fluid pond. SVCHEM™ coupled with SVFLUX™ can determine the mass loading of a contaminant on the surrounding groundwater system. SVHEAT™ may be used to model the temperature differences between a warm pond and the surrounding cold environment. The location of the freezing front can be calculated.

      Software Solutions
      SVFLUX™, SVHEAT™, SVDESIGNER

    2. The Challenge
      Modeling of large underground mine stope caverns often involves the modeling of the flow and transport after the caverns are filled with mine tailings or waste product. Numerical modeling of such situations requires the modeling of complex 3D structures of obtuse geometry.

      The Solution
      A combination of SVFLUX™ & SVCHEM™ can be utilized for the modeling of source term related to the flow and transport of contaminants. Modeling of diffusion, advection, adsorption or decay can be modeled. SVCHEM™/WR allows the consideration of reactive transport.

      Software Solutions
      SVHEAT™, SVFLUX™, SVCHEM™, SVDESIGNER

    3. The Challenge
      The flow of precipitation through an earth cover is often determined in the field through the installation of a Lysimeter in order to trap vertical flow. However the ability of a lysimeter to operate correctly requires a design heavily reliant on correctly modeling the mechanics of unsaturated flow.

      The Solution
      SVFLUX™ is ideally suited for handling the unsaturated flow regime required for the successful modeling of a Lysimeter design.

      Software Solutions
      SVFLUX™, SVSOILS

    4. The Challenge
      There are a myriad of flow issues related to the successful design of a heap leach pad. Some of these issues are:

          Is the design of the drainage system adequate for optimal recovery?

          What is the time for the heap leach pad to drain-down once the operation is finished?

          What application of liquor will result in an optimal saturation level in the heap?

        What cover design will best allow ultimate closure of a heap leach facility?

      The Solution
      The SVFLUX™ software package will allow successful modeling of a variety of operations and closure scenarios associated with heap leach pads. Various drainage scenarios may be modeled. The long-term performance of a proposed cover design may be modeled in order to minimize the amount of solution released from the closed heap pad.

      HeapLeachPreferential flow can be modeled using the spatial variability features in SVFLUX™. It is also possible to perform rudimentary modeling of the movement of the liquor solution in the pad when SVFLUX™ is coupled with the SVCHEM™ software. The new SVFLUX™/WR software package allows modeling of fracture flow as well as reactive transport when coupled with the SVCHEM™/WR software.

      Relevant Articles
      Heap Leach Pad Application
      Heap Leach Drainage Design
      Related Application Examples
      Heap Leach

      Related Publications
      Research Papers - Seepage (SVFLUX™)

      Software Solutions
      SVSLOPE®, SVFLUX™, SVHEAT™, SVAIR™, SVSOILS™, SVDESIGNER

    5. The Challenge!
      The stability of open pits has come under increased scrutiny in the past decade as existing open pits attempt to go deeper and larger to extend the useful life of the mine. Such an extension of open pits raises issues related to the stability of pit sidewalls and what factor of safety (FOS) is reasonable to allow safe working conditions.

      The traditional methodology in consulting practice for analyzing pit slope stability is through the use of limit equilibrium 2D slices through various sections of interest in the pit. Such an approach has been widely used but has the following fundamental limitations:

      • Pit geometry is often highly three-dimensional in nature,
      • Geostrata or ore geometry is highly three-dimensional in nature,
      • Rock fracture orientations are often highly three-dimensional, and
      • Faults can easily exist which are difficult to quantify in 2D.
      • Click here to contact us about performing open pit 3D slope stability analysis.

      The Solution
      2D limitations can be overcome through a 3D limit equilibrium analysis of pit wall stability utilizing the SVSLOPE® 3D software developed by SoilVision Systems Ltd. The 3D analysis offers the following benefits:

      • Extend the life of existing facilities through steeping of pit sidewalls based on 3D analysis,
      • More rigorously accurate calculation of the FOS,
      • Representation of 3D geostrata in a more comprehensive fashion,
      • Numerical modeling of faults and weak fracture planes,
      • Modeling of slope stabilization measures.

      Our company has recently invested significant research efforts to extend our existing SVSLOPE® 3D software to be utilized in the analysis of open pits. Such research efforts have resulted in the implementation of the following features:

      • Anisotropic rock strength models: ALM1 & ALM2 strength models have been implemented such that fracture weak zones at specific orientations can be handled.
      • Slip surfaces at any direction: The direction of the slip surface or a range of possible slip directions can be specified and
      • the software will search for the slip direction with the lowest factor of safety (FOS).
      • Combined searching using ellipsoids and fault planes or bedrock lower searching boundaries: Advanced searching methods utilizing composite slip surfaces are now available.
      • Multi-wedge searching: The software implements any combination of multiple planes which can be searched through to locate the lowest FOS.
      • Rock strength models: The Hoek-Brown and Hoek-Brown Generalized methods of rock strength have been implemented.
      • Mesh Volume Materials: it is now possible to represent enclosed volumes of materials using meshes. This feature greatly enhances the ability of the software to represent complex geo-strata.

      Software Solutions
      SVSOLID™, SVFLUX™ , SVSLOPE®

       

    6. The Challenge
      The design of earth covers is a common way to manage waste for landfills or mining operations. The analysis of cover design involves the complex interaction of climate, actual evaporation, and unsaturated flow.

      The Solution
      SVFLUX™/GE/GT implements the advanced Fredlund-Wilson-Penman climatic boundary condition which makes use of weather station data in order to calculate unsaturated pore-water flow through an earth cover. 

      Software Solutions
      SVFLUX™/GE/GT, SVHEAT-GE

    7. The Challenge
      Waste rock piles are a common earth structure resulting from extensive mining operations. Such structures can often lead to acid rock drainage (ARD) if the flows into waste rock are not minimized. There are also potential slope stability issues.

      The Solution
      SVFLUX™ and SVSLOPE® can be used in order to model the flow through a waste rock pile or the stability. Complex geo-strata can be modeled with either package. This complex strata is often necessary due to the coarse-fine layering of rock material. The influences of any particular long-term cover design can be evaluated with SVFLUX™. The representation of a single contaminant movement through a waste rock piles can also be simulated with the SVCHEM™ software. The new SVFLUX™/SVCHEM™/WR software package can model reactive transport and therefore provide a direct prediction of the potential ARD mass flows versus time.

      Please note that most of these models can be downloaded through our SVOFFICE product suite.

      Additional Articles
      Effect of Weathering on the Gravitational Stability of Questa Rock Piles

      Software Solutions
      SVFLUX™, SVHEAT™, SVAIR™, SVSOILS™, SVDESIGNER

    8. The Challenge
      Waste rock piles are a common earth structure resulting from extensive mining operations. Such structures can often lead to acid rock drainage (ARD) if the flows into waste rock are not minimized. There are also potential slope stability issues.

      The Solution
      SVFLUX™ and SVSLOPE® can be used in order to model the flow through a waste rock pile or the stability. Complex geo-strata can be modeled with either package. This complex strata is often necessary due to the coarse-fine layering of rock material. The influences of any particular long-term cover design can be evaluated with SVFLUX™.

      Relevant Articles
      Effect of Weathering on the Gravitational Stability of Questa Rock Piles
      Related Application Examples
      Waste Rock

      Related Publications
      Research Papers - Seepage (SVFLUX™)
      Research Papers - Slope Stability (SVSLOPE®)
      Published Articles

      Software Solutions
      SVSLOPE®, SVFLUX™, SVDESIGNER

    9. The Challenge!
      Wick drains are often utilized to speed the dewatering of a clay-rich base material in roadway or embankment construction. The speeding of such dewatering/consolidation facilitates a faster construction cycle.

      The Solution
      The SVFLUX™/SVSOLID™/GT software package can be utilized to model the effects of wick drain patterns in 3D. Thus the speeding of consolidation due to additional drainage can be predicted.

      Software Solutions
      SVSOLID™, SVFLUX

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