SWCC Experimental results of copper tailings and spent ore

José Riquelme and Cristian Godoy
Sunday, November 5, 2017
First presented: 
Tailings & Mine Waste Conference 2017
Published paper
Modelling flow into mining geotechnical structures, such as heap leach, spent ore dumps or a tailings storage facility, should consider the fact that constitutive materials may be found in an unsaturated regime. A fundamental parameter for doing this type of analysis is the soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC), however, its empirical determination is not frequent due to availability and time restrictions. The current state of practice consists in the determination of these curves through indirect estimations which are not necessarily meant to be applied on particular materials as those from mining process.
This article presents the results of an experimental study on SWCC determination for spent ore and tailing materials, comparing their results with different estimation methods. Given the inability of the estimations of reproducing the actual behavior of those materials, an alternative focus is proposed to experimentally determine the SWCC using only three measurements, saving time and testing costs.
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