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Waste rock dump rainfall infiltration and base seepage at Cadia

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... Three trial store and release covers were constructed on top of a trial waste rock dump (Williams and Rohde, 2008) at Cadia, as follows: ...
... Surface infiltration into the flat top of the trial waste rock dump has been monitored from 1 June 2006, following the construction of the dump and the installation of the two lysimeters on its trafficcompacted top surface. The lysimeters responded within 24 hours of the first rainfall, building up to an average peak infiltration of 86% of cumulative rainfall in mid-August 2006, followed by a gradual decline since, with little further infiltration recorded after 1 December 2006, as seen in Figure 15(Rohde et al., 2011). The average measured surface infiltration over the first 12 months of the monitoring period was about 50% of cumulative rainfall, dropping to an average 22% of cumulative rainfall over 4 years. ...
... Surface infiltration into the flat top of the trial waste rock dump has been monitored from 1 June 2006, following the construction of the dump and the installation of the two lysimeters on its trafficcompacted top surface. The lysimeters responded within 24 hours of the first rainfall, building up to an average peak infiltration of 86% of cumulative rainfall in mid-August 2006, followed by a gradual decline since, with little further infiltration recorded after 1 December 2006, as seen inFigure 15 (Rohde et al., 2011). The average measured surface infiltration over the first 12 months of the monitoring period was about 50% of cumulative rainfall, dropping to an average 22% of cumulative rainfall over 4 years.Figure 15 Surface infiltration into Cadia's trial waste rock dump, expressed as a % of cumulative rainfall with time Differential settlement and hard-panning of the surface of the dump (seeFigure 16), and the concentration of rainfall runoff in ponds and at sinkholes not intersected by the surface lysimeters, are the main factors behind the lack of recorded infiltration after 1 December 2006. ...
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Unsaturated soil mechanics continues to play poor relation to saturated soil mechanics, although an unsaturated soil at a given density is stronger, less compressible and less permeable (i.e. performs better) than the same soil in a saturated state. There are many examples of unsaturated conditions in the mining field, including the wetting-up and drain-down of initially dry surface waste rock dumps; the irrigation and drain-down of heap leach materials; the drain-down, desiccation and rewetting of mine tailings; the dewatering of mineral products such as coal; the shear strength and compressibility of stored mine wastes; and the performance of geo-covers placed on mine wastes on rehabilitation. This paper highlights the key unsaturated soil mechanics parameters, overviews the nature of mining and processing wastes, and some products, and discusses the issues involved. Some applications of unsaturated soil mechanics addressing the shear strength, compressibility and permeability of mine wastes, and mineral products, are presented, together with data to highlight them.
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