Engineering & Construction Design
As part of the design process, appropriate site characterisation is required to select the optimal tailings and waste rock storage method for a given operation. SRK tailors engineering and geotechnical investigations to the complexity and risk rating of the project, to provide required information for detailed design and project decision-making. SRK also provides a complete QA/QC for the construction of tailings and waste rock storage facilities.
As part of feasibility and engineering studies, SRK prepares detailed reports covering:
- Geotechnical investigation — for each proposed structure and its critical components.
- Seismic assessment of the site.
- Method of tailings deposition and containment construction.
- Internal and external stability of the tailings containment.
- Physical and chemical characteristics and engineering parameters of the tailings —in particular, the potential for acid and metalliferous drainage, salinity and other contaminants to be generated by the tailings.
- Hydrogeological investigation — conceptual groundwater modelling including background water quality within the projected zone-of-influence of the tailings storage facility.
Following on from site characterisation, SRK completes detailed design of containment structures, which typically integrates the following key design criteria:
- Minimum, maximum and average tailings production rates at which the delivery system will operate.
- Geochemical characteristics which may influence the selection of the most appropriate design for operation and closure.
- Range of solids concentrations and the average solids concentration (as a percentage by mass) over which the production rates are applicable.
- Annual and life-of-operation tailings tonnages for which the tailings storage facility must be designed.
- The rated maximum capacity of the return water system (m3/hour).
- The range of rheological characteristics of the tailings slurry.
- Public health and safety, community, and environmental compliance targets, as defined in consultation with stakeholders, including seepage, ground water quality, decommissioning, rehabilitation and closure requirements, air quality and radioactivity compliance levels.
- Operating and maintenance requirements, for example, unmanned, low maintenance.