Study and optimal design of waste rock piles for an iron ore mine

Despite a mine tailings volume of up to 2 billion m3, this iron mine’s tailings piles were managed in a conventional manner, without considering geotechnical conditions and end-of-mine restoration and regulatory requirements. Determined to bring its operation in line with current practices and regulations, the mine’s owners mandated BBA to provide a design review with recommendations for optimal design aimed at regulatory operational alignment.

Client: Confidential
Location:  Confidential

OUR EXPERTS’ SOLUTIONS

BBA was mandated to develop conceptual approaches aimed at aligning short-, medium- and long-term construction of waste rock piles with current legislation. The plans, which were designed using 3D modelling, included creating a strategic berm to retain waste rock and ensuring that the company respected the area planned for waste rock. The approach optimized the use of lower cost descending construction methods while ensuring compliance of the final structure.

The proposed solutions bring pile stability in line with legislative requirements and thus improve environmental risk management. The suggested berm construction was composed entirely of the mine’s waste rock, and all access roads were built into the berms themselves thus reducing project costs.

IN THE WORDS OF OUR EXPERT…

“Our client now has a solid plan and detailed technical directives to minimize the risk of stockpile failures and comply with mining permit requirements. Overall costs were reduced through a rigorous constructability review, which focused on prioritizing the use of low cost construction methods wherever possible.”

Luciano Piciacchia, Director – Earth and Infrastructure Business Line

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