Lisheen Mine, Templemore, Tipperary, Ireland

Anglo American Plc

2006-2007

Situation

The Lisheen mining operations involve an underground lead/zinc mine with a surface processing plant for the ore. Because of the acid forming potential of the tailings, the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) was designed and operated as a fully sub-aqueous facility.

In 2006, we were commissioned by the mine to provide advice on advanced closure planning for the TSF.

Solution

During the course of this work, it became apparent that more data was required on the physical properties of the tailings and the expected behaviour during closure, in order to successfully develop a closure plan.

We subsequently undertook a comprehensive program of sampling and laboratory testing to provide this information. Overwater sampling from a barge was carried out to obtain samples of deposited tailings, together with other in-situ testing. The samples were shipped back to our specialist Melbourne laboratory where testing and analysis of the results took place.

Outcome

  • The study presented important information regarding the sub-aqueous depositional behaviour of the tailings, in particular the high degree of segregation that had occurred into coarse and fine fractions, the achieved densities and the current consolidation state.

This study has allowed Anglo American to satisfy local environmental regulations with a closure strategy that minimises cost and enhances the long- term rehabilitation prospects of the tailings storage.

The results of the investigation work enabled Anglo American to optimise ongoing depositional strategies leading up to closure and have provided clearer predictions of post-closure behaviour.

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For further information please contact:

Charles Vuillier on 0435087562 or via email at charlesv@atcwilliams.com.au