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Operating a zero-discharge mine waste disposal facility in northern B.C. : the Huckleberry Mines experience

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Title: Operating a zero-discharge mine waste disposal facility in northern B.C. : the Huckleberry Mines experience
Author: Johnson, Doug; Letient, Henri
Issue Date: 2001
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2009-06-26
Series/Report no. British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium 2001
Abstract: The Huckleberry Copper Mine site is located in west central British Columbia, approximately 85 km southwest of Houston. The mine site is at an elevation of about 1050 m and experiences on average 1100mm of precipitation annually. Production from the open pit copper mine began in the fall of 1997. The ore zones are being mined by conventional open pit operations, with a projected total 11-year life according to the latest mine plan. The mill throughput is a nominal 21,000 tonnes per day. The TMF-2 facility provides storage for the mine waste generated by the Huckleberry Mines operations. The facility was commissioned in October 1997. TMF-2 provides not only storage for the tailings but also disposal and permanent submergence of potentially acid generating (PAG) waste rock. TMF-2 also provides the source of process water. Despite the wet climate, TMF-2 is presently operated as a zero-discharge facility and provides the main source of process water for the mill. Only about 150 m³/hr of fresh water is added at the mill for specific process requirements (i.e., less than 10% of the process water). It is not until the impoundment is expanded to the east in the later years of the operations that excess water may need to be discharged. All analyses to date have shown water quality in the pond will be suitable for discharge. This paper explains how the system was initially conceptualised, how it is operated and how it will be configured on closure. Water management aspects of the operations are highlighted. The mass/water balance is an essential operating tool for planning annual raises and predicted flooding levels. The presentation will explain how the mass balance is updated as production data arid site-specific climate information becomes available.
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/9712
Peer Review Status:

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