On the Characterization and Classification of Bauxite Tailings

F. Schnaid, H.P. Nierwinski, J. Bedin, E. Odebrecht


Soils and Rocks, São Paulo, 37(3): 277-284, September-December, 2014 | PDF


Large-scale mining operations generate vast quantities of tailings that are deposited in hydraulic-fill tailing dams in the form of slurries. Stability of these impoundments require investigation of water table configuration, aquifer boundaries, site characterization and determination of short and long term properties of tailings. These aspects are evaluated in this paper from a comprehensive site investigation that comprises both laboratory and field tests from a bauxite tailing deposit in northern Brazil. The purpose is to enhance the understanding on the mechanical properties of bauxite tailings in order to select or develop appropriate constitutive models for predicting the behavior of tailings impoundments. Attention is given to the characterization and classification of silt tailings from the combination of measurements from independent tests expressed on the basis of the ratio of the elastic stiffness to penetration tip resistance.

Submitted on June 19, 2014; Final Acceptance on December 15, 2014; Discussion open until April 30, 2015.