East Weipa Operations

East Weipa 1&2 TSF and EWED Closure Design


Rio Tinto


Northern Queensland



Australia/New Zealand

ATC Williams was engaged to undertake the detailed design for the decommissioning of two Tailings Storage Facilities no longer operational (estimated combined area of 150ha) at the Rio Tinto East Weipa bauxite mining operations located in northern Queensland.

— Features and solutions

The scope of work required a detailed site investigation that consisted of CPTu testing, VWP monitoring equipment installation to understand site conditions and material types and a detailed environmental field investigation considering agronomy and fauna and flora within the area. 

The design was completed in two stages:

  • Stage 1 considered the tailings surface rehabilitation, batter slope trial pad design and associated infrastructure to manage a Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) event
  • Stage 2 would consider the batter slope reshaping and any additional infrastructure requirements

The Stage 1 design was completed and included a final design report, Investigation report, construction drawings, associated quantities and technical specifications. Only conceptual figures were prepared for Stage 2. 

The main challenges faced during the project included:

  • Satisfying client, regulatory body and traditional landowner requirements and expectations, overcome through numerous meetings and workshops to identify and deal with stakeholders requirements throughout the project.
  • Landforming to support interim performance objectives, including trial plots that will support discussion on final landform with all stakeholders.
  • Incorporating a partial rehabilitated portion of EW 1&2 TSF into the overall design.
  • Minimising the impacts of the rehabilitated facilities on the surrounding environment, local community and itinerants visiting the area.


  • A simple agronomy solution that satisfied all interested and affected parties
  • Early installation of monitoring equipment for baseline, construction and future ongoing monitoring
  • Earthworks cut to fill balance achieved to minimise material movement
  • Monitoring plans developed for groundwater, noise, dust and erosion were developed and agreed
  • Virtual reality imagery at locations around the site (before and after imagery) to inform interested and affected parties of the proposed changes
  • Weed removal without significant damage to existing flora

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