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An Experimental Set-up to Investigate Tailings Liquefaction and Control Measures

Summary: An Experimental Set-up to Investigate Tailings
Liquefaction and Control Measures
Michael James, Darcy Jolette, Michel Aubertin*
, and Bruno Bussière
NSERC Polytechnique-UQAT Chair on Environment and Mine Wastes Management
The increasing size and number of tailings impoundments and the relatively recent
awareness of the seismicity of large areas of the province of Quebec highlight the
need for a fuller understanding of the liquefaction resistance of mine tailings. Most
research conducted on liquefaction has focused on naturally occurring soils and has
used conventional, small-scale testing equipment: cyclic triaxial or cyclic simple
shear devices. The inability of such conventional tests to adequately evaluate some
of the factors that may be critical to the understanding of liquefaction resistance has
created a need for larger-scale testing. The authors' group has initiated a dynamic
testing program dedicated to the evaluation of the liquefaction potential of mine
tailings. A mid-size (larger-scale) dynamic testing device with a capacity to test a
cubic meter of materials in horizontal shaking was designed and constructed. It has
been evaluated by means of preliminary testing. The device is capable of testing
soils and tailings under a range of confinement pressures and drainage conditions. It
also allows an evaluation of mitigation measures such as the use of waste rock fills to


Source: Aubertin, Michel - Département des génies civil, géologique et des mines, École Polytechnique de Montréal


Collections: Engineering; Environmental Management and Restoration Technologies