Open Pit Copper Mine
An open-pit copper mine, located in northern Chile, is currently producing from its stacking and leaching facilities but is expected to switch to concentrator processing in the near future. This transition necessitates the construction of a tailings impoundment to store all processed tailings produced over the operating life of the mine.
ARCADIS Chile retained RGC to complete a study to assess seepage rates for alternative disposal scenarios. This seepage assessment involved the following:
- Review of material testing and determination of geotechnical and hydraulic properties of the tailings required for seepage modeling.
- Development of a conceptual model describing the various processes contributing to tailings seepage.
- Development of an integrated seepage model for the life of mine.
- Unsaturated flow draindown modeling to estimate basal seepage rates for a post-closure period.
The seepage fluxes obtained from this study were used as input to a hydrogeological model in order to determine potential groundwater impacts.