Failure of Waste Rock Facilities (WRF) can be a major concern because it can put human life and surrounding environment at extreme risk. As such, waste rock piles should be considered structures, and rigorous attention should be afforded in design and operation of WRF. Selecting an appropriate operational strategy can greatly lessen the risks involved. The important aspects in the operational phase of a WRF, which impact the stability, include the use of appropriate design criteria, waste material segregation, and rate of deposition, operational load, operational manual, deposition plan and instrumentation. This paper discusses, in detail, the importance of operational parameters and how these can be controlled to reduce the overall risk associated with such facilities. It further discusses the importance of integrating design into deposition plans, the use of operational manuals to document good operating practices and the supervision of ongoing operations.
Note that this white paper was the subject of a presentation at the Tailings and Mine Waste’18 Conference in Colorado State University.