Waste rock storage facilities (WRSF) are massive structures that make part of mining environments, landscape, and layouts. Instabilities in these structures can impact nearby mining infrastructure, equipment and personnel as well as the surrounding environment including lakes, streams and rivers. Despite the significance of these structures it is common practise to treat them as dumps, with very little effort allocated to design, engineered construction, supervision and monitoring, stockpile deposition planning, site characterization or operations. It is only when we look at the long-term that the increased apparent costs of planning, design, construction and operation of a WRSF is put into perspective. It is therefore important that the current mindset regarding WRSFs evolves and becomes more holistic by considering not only short term needs but include proper fit to purpose engineering and construction of these structures. This paper provides an example of an optimized design along with consideration for constructability where existing stockpiles need to be brought to code for long term stability.
Note that this white paper was the subject of a presentation at the Tailings and Mine Waste’18 Conference in Colorado State University.