Theme 7 - Mine Waste Design
Theme goal: This research goal is to develop new technologies that will enhance the stability of mine-waste disposal systems and reduce the associated risks. It is anticipated that the results generated in this theme will dramatically transform mine waste design practice over the next 10 years.
Anticipated Outcomes: The main scientific and practical contributions expected from this theme are the refinement of numerical models for consolidation and surficial moisture flux boundaries of fine-grained, cohesive slurries, and advancement of practical simulation tools to allow for rapid assessment of oil-sands waste management options. In addition, theme research will improve current knowledge regarding the chemical and mechanical stability of mine wastes. Studies on hydrogeological and mechanical properties of paste rock (described below) will significantly improve the physical stability of tailings impoundments. This research will also advance the integration of mine planning with environmental management to aid the evaluation of mine-waste management strategies. An important anticipated scientific and practical contribution will be the application of geo-metallurgical characterization for determining the long-term environmental behaviour of mine waste. The new approaches proposed in Theme 7 are expected to have an impact on how we manage mine wastes and remediate mine-waste disposal areas. This research theme will also develop tools to aid in the evaluation of mine-waste management strategies for oil-sands mines.