Introduction to Geotechnical Design of Tailings Dams
Brief Description
The Introduction to Geotechnical Design of Tailings Dams is a two-day course focusing on the theoretical framework and practical aspects of assessing the stability of tailings dams in the context of applicable regulatory requirements and industry best practices. The course gives a review of critical state soil mechanics which is fundamental to the appropriate interpretation of the state of the dam. The concepts of drained and undrained shear strength and related slope stability are presented, together with techniques for the appropriate specification and interpretation of laboratory and in situ testing as required for these analyses.
The aim of the course is to equip junior geotechnical engineers with the knowledge and framework to understand the complexity of geotechnical design of tailings dams, and to provide techniques and tools to appropriately conduct such designs.
The course is presented by the Geotechnical Engineering group at the University of Pretoria, led by the academic group of Prof. Gerhard Heymann, Prof. SW Jacobsz and Dr Talia da Silva Burke. Additional expert presentations will be given by Prof. Eben Rust and other members of the Geotechnical Engineering group involved with advanced testing and research in tailings.
Learning Outcomes
After successfully completing this course, you should have a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of geotechnical design of tailings and the relevant legislative framework including an understanding of:
1. Significant local and international tailings dam failures, the fundamental reasons for these failures and impact of each event;
2. available documents for international best practice in the design, construction, operation and management of tailings dams;
3. relevant local legislation governing the geotechnical design of tailings dams in South Africa;
4. critical state soil mechanics, application of the state parameter to tailings, and the NorSand critical state model;
5. drained and undrained shear strength of tailings, including the characterisation of brittle behaviour, and available estimates of peak and residual undrained shear strength ratios;
6. appropriate techniques to sample and transport tailings material;
7. appropriate specifications and techniques for high-quality laboratory testing and interpretation of results, including triaxial testing for critical state parameters and direct simple shear tests;
8. appropriate specifications and techniques for high-quality in situ testing of tailings and interpretation of results; and
9. breach (dam break) analysis of tailings.
Course Content
• Case histories of tailings dam failures
• Guidelines and legislation for tailings dam design
• Critical state soil mechanics and application to tailings dams
• Drained and undrained shear strength of tailings
• Sampling and laboratory testing of tailings materials
• In situ testing of tailings using Cone Penetration Tests (CPT)
• Drained and undrained stability analysis of tailings dams
• Tailings dam break analysis
Entry Requirements
A civil engineering or engineering geology graduate who has completed undergraduate courses in soil mechanics
Course Number:
Catalogue and Category:
Engineering and Technology Management
Who Should attend:
Engineers/geologists working in any aspects of tailings dams.
Delivery Mode:
Blended, Contact Sessions
Contact Days: