Experimental study and numerical reproduction of self-weight consolidation behavior of thickened tailings
Demers Bonin, Michael; Nuth, Mathieu; Cabral, Alexandre; Dagenais, Anne-Marie
Abstract: Thickened tailings, defined as mineral wastes that behave as a non-Newtonian fluid, show a small yield stress and release a small amount of water following deposition. Thickening has become an increasingly used option in tailings management. This paper presents a detailed examination of gold mine thickened tailings undergoing self-weight consolidation, which is an important mechanism affecting soft soils immediately after deposition. Self-weight consolidation was evaluated using a column equipped with water pressure transmitters whereas a slurry consolidometer was employed to obtain the compressibility relationship under low vertical effective stresses. The piecewise-linear model CS2 was used to model the experimental self-weight consolidation test. This model proved very accurate in reproducing the observed behavior. Both the test results and the model results also confirmed the absence of sedimentation in the thickened tailings, which is in agreement with values reported in the literature related to similar materials.
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