Waste Management & Remediation Support
Integration of Ore Deposit Geochemistry and Mineralogy, Prediction of Waste Rock Behavior, Mechanics of Subaqueous and Sub-aerial Tailings Deposition, Impact Analysis, Modeling and Visualization.
Successful designs and the construction and operation of waste management systems and facilities require input from a wide range disciplines.
The experience base of HGG professionals can provide valuable support to any team charged with recognizing the scope of waste management issues, formulating the design criteria for their management, specifying operating and monitoring requirements, and visualization and modeling complex systems and structures. Our application areas include mining and associated processing operations, the manufacture of industrial chemicals, especially from mineral and petroleum resources, and many types of municipal and classified waste streams.
Mining and Mineral Processing Wastes
Waste streams stemming from mining and related ore beneficiation are enormous in scale, frequently contain deleterious components, range from heterogeneous to uniform in both physical and chemical composition, and are subject to very complex alteration processes when disposed by industry-standard means. Management of these waste streams can pose formidable problems to permitting and mine design, are often the source of very long-term treatment obligations and are commonly the primary basis for negative legacies affecting not only the operator but the industry in general. HGG professionals believe strongly that the most cost-effective approach to management of these waste streams is early insightful investigations and proactive participation in mine planning.
HGG expertise in the following areas forms a core of experience that can contribute to a viable and permitable mine design and, ideally, a walk-away closure.
- Integration of ore deposit geochemistry and mineralogy, ambient weathering conditions and likely processing methods to form a first-level prediction of waste stream issues, design meaningful baseline monitoring programs, formulate ore and waste sampling and analytical programs to meet permitting requirements, aid in mine design, and allow realistic estimates of environmental liabilities.
- Operational behavior of waste rock dumps and the behavior of water and air infiltration, movement of interior water under vadose and saturated conditions, interaction of local groundwater with overlying dump materials and seasonal variations in interior flow patterns.
- Mechanics of subaqueous and sub-aerial tailings deposition and movement of interstitial fluids during deposition, compaction and drain-down, surface oxygen infiltration and progressive sulfide oxidation fronts, water quality evolution and seepage water quality prediction.
- Prediction of waste rock behavior including detailed understanding of acid rock drainage prediction, leachability studies, static and kinetic testing, design of sampling programs and custom testing procedures, and close interactive involvement with commercial laboratories.
- On-site interaction with personnel to design and install site-specific weathering experiments, execute base-line sampling and monitoring programs, integrate blind QA/QC programs, initiate waste rock sampling programs, evaluate existing analytical programs.
- Direct interaction with metallurgical testing laboratories to obtain meaningful samples for characterization of process waste streams from comminution, flotation, autoclave and gravity separation studies, from hydrometallurgical pilot plants, thickening and flocculation testing programs and pilot smelting programs.
- Interpret waste characterization data and prepare permit application support documents, interact directly with regulators and provide support for public hearings and presentations.
- Fate and Transport Modeling to understanding the potential impacts from waste streams
- Visualization of ore body deposits, valley fill waste rock dumps, contaminant plumes, and subsurface geology
- Impact prediction and forecasting to help support remediation system designs and monitoring programs
- Independent peer review
HGG professionals have applied the principals of groundwater and surface hydrology, geochemistry, modeling and visualization with the knowledge of various industrial and municipal processes to understanding waste streams in non-mining situations, including:
- Oil Refineries
- Petrochemical Facilities
- Launch Complexes
- Mine Sites
- Marine Facilities
- Industrial Facilities
- Chemical Manufacturers
- Municipal Utilities
- Dry Cleaners
- Explosives Factories