Robert Kingsland, Glen Burton
The management and closure of tailings dams can present mines with a trailing liability potentially extending well beyond the life of the mine. The dilemma faced by mine operators is that a tailings storage facility (TSF) is usually required to be in service up until the last product is mined and processed, but the stored tailings may be too weak to support the capping of those facilities for some years after the last tailings deposition. This paper presents the authors’ experience in the geotechnical characterisation of tailings and failure mode analysis required for tailings dams cover design, with particular reference to coal mines in the Hunter Valley. Techniques for field and laboratory determination of strength and consolidation parameters are presented. Failure modes for capping cover and displacement cover alternatives are discussed. Alternative cover techniques including strategies for improving and/or accelerating tailings strength gain are also discussed. Finally, areas needing further study are noted.
Keywords: tailings storage facilities, tailings dams, closure, capping, cover design.
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M. Amghar, A. Watt, C. Thorstensen
The future effects of climate change on water resources in the southeast Queensland and other parts of Australia will depend on trends in both climatic and non-climatic factors. Evaluating these impacts is challenging because water availability, quality and streamflow are sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation. Other important factors include increased demand for water caused by population growth, changes in the economy, development of new technologies, changes in catchment characteristics and water management decisions. In Southeast Queensland, concern for climate change has increased in recent years with research on global climate change applied to part of Southeast Queensland and it has become apparent that the region’s climate has changed in recent times. Studies have shown that Southeast Queensland’s climate has been variable over history and in the present, is experiencing continuing sea level rise, and may experience
significant climate warming. The potential effects of climate change on coastal erosion, water availability, flood control, and general water management issues have been raised and widely discussed from a variety of perspectives.
This paper presents results of an integrated economic-engineering resource assessment optimisation model of Seqwater’s water supply system illustrating the value of optimisation modelling for providing an integrated approach needed to manage a complex multipurpose water system. Overall, the approach has its own limitations, but provides useful insights on the potential for operating the current or proposed infrastructure for different future conditions.
Keywords: Brisbane Water supply, Moreton, water resource plan, optimisation, environmental flows.
John Prentice, Jim Barrett, Dr Martin Mallen-Cooper
Located in south-eastern Australia, the River Murray has provided almost a century of regulated water supply, bringing immense benefit to human welfare during this period. However a healthy river is recognised as being essential to its sustainable future. With this in mind, in March 2001 the Murray- Darling Basin Ministerial Council approved several actions including “a structural works program to provide passage for migratory fish, from the sea to Hume Dam”. The paper outlines progress to-date on this ambitious fishway construction program.
The program involves building fishways on twelve of the fourteen weirs on the river, and at the barrages. The criteria established, to enable passage for all native fish species known to regularly migrate, are detailed. The important lessons learned from earlier fishways, and confidence gained from the Torrumbarry Weir vertical-slot fishways constructed in the 1990’s, have been applied to the new designs. Part way through the program, important changes were made to the design criteria, and the reasons for doing so are described.The fishways constructed at the barrages near the Murray mouth, and their need to respond to estuarine and lake conditions, are recognised. In addition, Mildura and Euston Weirs vary from the other River Murray structures, and their special fish passage consideration is described.
In achieving a successful outcome to date, the important role of river managers, engineers and scientists working together with design consultants is acknowledged. A tri-State monitoring and assessment program has been established to enable the questions about the short and long term outcomes of the program to be answered. The beneficial results to date are detailed.
This paper outlines the steps and challenges involved in delivering this decade long program, scheduled for completion in 2011.
Keywords: Sustainable, fishways, fish passage, native fish, hydraulics, fish monitoring, Murray.
Gavan Hunter, Chris Chamberlain, Mark Foster
Hinze dam, an extreme hazard storage, is under the authority of Seqwater (Southeast Queensland) and is principle potable water storage supplying the Gold Coast. Hinze Dam Stage 3, presently under construction, involves raising the existing embankment almost 15m to a maximum height of 80m.
The foundation geology on the right abutment of the main embankment comprises of a deeply weathered sequence of greywacke and variably silicified greenstone and chert. The deeply (and variably) weathered soil profile below the right abutment of the existing embankment presented an unacceptable piping risk for the embankment in its existing condition. Contributing factors included: 1/ the highly erodible extremely weathered greywacke and presence of continuous defects in the weathered soil mass; 2/ the extremely weathered greenstone in direct contact with highly fractured, highly permeable silicified greenstone and chert bodies aligned normal to the dam axis which provide continuous seepage paths through the foundation.
Works were required as part of the Stage 3 raise to address the foundation piping risk. Significant issues for design included: 1/ the depth of weathering extended up to 25to 40m into the foundation.; 2/ extremely weathered and highly erodible greenstone was present below the right abutment of the embankment and extended down to the lower abutment some 50 to 60 m below the existing dam crest; 3/ the reservoir level could not be drawn down during construction and the probability it would be near full supply level during the works was high; and 4/ the variability of strength in the greenstone form soil to extremely high strength presented challenges for excavation.
The options assessed to address the piping risk included a plastic concrete cut-off wall and an upstream blanketing option. The plastic concrete cut-off wall (220m long and up to 50m deep) and deep filter trench was the selected option. The cut-off wall had been successfully completed ahead of time and below budget. The innovative design required excavation through earthfill core of the embankment under full reservoir level and use of a purpose built trench cutter (by Bauer Foundations Australia) for the variable excavation conditions.
Keywords: dam safety, piping, risk assessment, cut-off wall.
Robert Fowden, Peter Allen, John McKenna
The Large Referable Farm Dam Assessment Program commenced in early 2006 after inspections identified a significant number of Queensland dams that were unknown to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and could potentially threaten life if they were to fail. The program is unique given the number of structures under consideration and is understood to be the first widespread, systematic search for dams with a population at risk in the world. The Dam Safety (Farm Dams) team has developed many original solutions to allow the majority of investigations to be undertaken in-house, thus minimising the potentially higher cost and timeframe issues associated with obtaining external engineering and surveying support.
Keywords: Queensland, dam safety, dam failure, regulation, farm dams, surveying, modelling
Dr Azan Khan, Ahmad Nasir, Kumud Kandel, Jaya Kandasamy, Hadi Khabbaz, Mahub Ilahee
Cracking in the clay core of embankment dams is important to dam safety because it can cause seepage through transverse cracks and with excessive seepage cracks may begin to erode the soil on the sides of the crack. If there are no filters to control this erosion, the erosion may progress to form a pipe, eventually leading to breach of the dam. Recent climate change has resulted in long term drought conditions in various parts of Australia, especially west of the Dividing Range. The prolonged drought conditions can lead to the loss of moisture content in the clay core causing cracking of the core material. The current research is investigating a relationship between long term drought condition and loss of moisture content in the clay core. This paper presents the loss of moisture content in the clay core of three dams in Australia due to global warming. A rigorous finite element modelling has been conducted to capture the moisture content changes in a typical large clay core dam.
Keywords: clay core, dams, climate change, moisture content