Soils, Mine Waste, Landforms & Tailings

SoilsOur aim is to successfully deliver a high quality of service to our clients that includes the assessment of soils, mine waste and tailings materials, waste landform design, rehabilitation research and planning.

The Soils, Mine Waste, Landforms and Tailings group at MWH has considerable experience in soil, mine waste and tailings characterisation for mining approval, soil profile reconstruction, landform design and rehabilitation planning. The group can provide advice on the design, optimised construction, rehabilitation and monitoring of waste landforms and appropriate soil covers for tailings and hostile mine waste materials.

The Group has unrivalled experience in the characterisation and practical management of soils and mine waste for the mining industry with over 80 years of combined experience at over 75 mine sites throughout Australia and overseas.

TailingsMWH has a proven track record with the management of tailings from mineral processing and the decommissioning and rehabilitation of tailing storage facilities (TSF). We offer worldwide experience with experts located on six continents. Our team has conducted decommissioning, closure and rehabilitation planning for many TSFs within Australia and globally. Our group forms a significant part of MWH and provides a broad range of tailings management services.

To achieve completion criteria and ultimately relinquishment and minimise the ultimate cost, TSF closure planning needs to be integrated into mine development and operations planning. As such, the level of information required will correspond to the life span of the TSF and reflect the various stages of the life cycle of the project. We offer an in-depth knowledge of the tailings management life cycle and experience in the development of Tailings Decommissioning Plans.

TSF closure and decommissioning is a process involving a logical staged sequence of problem solving activities to address closure challenges, knowledge gaps and the reduction of risks during operation and closure.

Our team has a history of designing and researching closure solutions and is recognised for understanding cover design and ecological restoration of TSFs. Team members have a solid understanding of the legislative requirements for closure.

Soils, Mine Waste, Landforms & Tailings Capabilities & Recent Experience
Our Capabilities:
  • Baseline soil and mine waste characterisation for mining approval
  • Soil mapping
  • Geochemical characterisation
  • Development of soil and waste material inventories
  • Soil profile reconstruction and rehabilitation
  • Waste landform design, optimisation and remediation
  • Landform construction audit and compliance
  • Landform stability and erosion assessment
  • Soil-water monitoring and modelling
  • Tailings storage facility cover designs
  • Field and laboratory based trials and research programs
  • Acid-sulphate soil investigations
  • Visual impact assessments
Recent Experience:
Newmont Asia Pacific, Various Sites, 2003 to present
  • Reviews and investigations into soil covers and capping techniques for rehabilitation and closure of tailings and waste storage facilities at a number of sites (e.g. Boddington Gold Mine, Woodcutters, Granites, Jundee);
  • Mine waste characterisation and landform design (Boddington Gold Mine, Woodcutters, Jundee, KCGM);
  • Development of soil and waste material inventory to inform landform design and rehabilitation parameters (Jundee, Boddington Gold Mine, KCGM);
  • Field based rehabilitation research trials (Granites, Boddington Gold Mine). Soil profile reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Atlas Iron, Various Sites, 2007 to present
  • Baseline soil and mine waste characterisation programmes (Abydos, Wodgina, Mt Webber, Mt Dove, McPhee Creek, Corunna Downs);
  • Development of soil resource inventories and rehabilitation parameters (Pardoo, Mt Dove).
Chevron, Barrow Island, 2005 to present
  • Soil survey of rehabilitated and analogue sites and correlation of soil parameters with rehabilitation monitoring indices;
  • Assessment of soil characteristics within rehabilitation and adjacent analogue areas, establishment and monitoring of rehabilitation trials.
Tailing Management Capabilities & Recent Experience
Our Capabilities:
Closure Investigation & Rehabilitation Trials
  • Physical, chemical and geochemical tailings characterisation
  • Implications of tailings properties on plant growth and cover design
  • Design of covers for optimum performance
  • Upper surface and external batter cover trials
  • Material investigations for cover design
  • Defining physical and water-holding properties of cover materials
Closure Planning
  • Holistic approach to closure in collaboration with multiple disciplines (geotechnical, geochemical, hydrological, hydrogeological, engineering)
  • Design of final landforms and drainage structures
  • Liaison and interaction with government departments and community stakeholder consultation
  • Development of TSF decommissioning plans for submission to regulators
  • Relinquishment planning for liability reduction
Design & Implementation of Closure Programs
  • Development of closure objectives and completion criteria
  • Monitoring and measurement against completion criteria
Post Closure Monitoring
  • Finalising the post closure monitoring and maintenance program
  • Annual environmental reporting and compliance auditing
  • Rehabilitation monitoring using Ecosystem Function Analysis or other techniques
  • Monitoring soil, water and vegetation on established covers
Recent Experience:

Gold Fields Limited – Conceptual Decommissioning Plans for four above ground Tailings Storage facilities, one In-Pit facility and a Heap Leach Facility

Mineral and Metal Group Limited – Peer Review of Concept Design – Bobadil Tailings Storage Facility

Kingsgate Consolidated Limited – Challenger Gold Mine. TSF1 Integrated Waste Landform Conceptual Decommissioning Plan

Newmont Asia Pacific – Granites Gold Mine. Granites GTDO3 Tailings Storage Facility Conceptual Decommissioning Plan; Granites Gold Mine. Bunkers In-Pit Tailings Storage Facility Conceptual Decommissioning Report; Boddington Gold Mine. Closure Strategy for the R4 Residue Disposal Area

KCGM – Super Pit. Conceptual Decommissioning Plan for the Paringa Tailings Storage Facility; Super Pit. Conceptual Decommissioning Plan for the KCGM Mt Percy Tailings Storage Facility

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Soils, Mine Waste, Landforms & Tailings Information

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Tailings Management Information

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