Long term behavior of waste rocks piles and performance of cover structure - GTK

Published: 2 March 2016

Work package leader: (GTK) Raija Pietilä
Mine site: Kevitsa (Cu-Ni-mine, Boliden Kevitsa) and Saattopora (closed Au-Cu-mine, Outokumpu Oyj) in Finland


  • To study long-term performance of dry cover structures in Northern changing climate as a remediation option for sulphide-rich waste rock
  • To evaluate the long-term impacts and element release of an unremediated waste rock piles in Northern conditions
  • To investigate the design, construction, instrumentation and monitoring of field scale tailings and experimental waste rock piles.

At the field scale experimental waste rock piles, with and without covers, will be designed, constructed, instrumented and monitored. Various large lysimeters will be installed at the basal structures of the pilot piles, to investigate the amounts and qualities of the effluent waters, and to evaluate the performance of different cover structures. Instrumentation that will be installed in the piles could include e.g. sensors of O2, humidity, temperature, pH and electric conductivity.

The chemical and mineralogical properties of the waste rock materials and effluent waters will be analysed by novel methods and wide elemental spectrum, including different forms of nitrogen. The environmental impacts of mine waste are commonly assessed by preliminary laboratory testing programs including different kinds of solubility tests. The field scale experiments conducted during this project will therefore be essential to evaluate the accuracy and applicability of commonly used laboratory scale characterisation methods.

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