Greens Creek Mine

Canadian Consulting Engineering Award

Innovative Tailings Management in a Northern Climate

For nearly two decades, KCB has supported tailings management at the Greens Creek Mine near Juneau, Alaska. Part of the mine is in the Admiralty Island National Monument, a protected area and popular tourist destination, known for one of the largest populations of brown bears in the world, and home to species of salmon, birds, whales and deer.

 

“Klohn’s Crippen Berger’s work on the Greens Creek Project was at the highest levels of technical practice and an example of going the extra mile to bring together a range of technical expertise to address a challenging problem. Their solutions included original technical contributions that were of value to the client and the profession.”

-Dr. I.M. Idriss and Dr. R.W. Boulanger, UC Davis

Challenges

  • Mine development and operation in remote, protected and popular tourist area, with one of the densest brown bear populations in the world
  • Rigorous mine permitting requirements for managing water quality
  • Tailings management in area with high annual precipitation and seismically-active zone

Solutions

  • Minimal mine waste footprint and land disturbance
  • Mine waste stored in filtered tailings storage facility; waste water filtered out and tailings compacted
  • Lined filtered tailings storage facility with geomembrane liner and drainage pipes minimizes impact to groundwater
  • Compact tailings less likely to lose strength and flow following a significant earthquake
  • Filtered tailings storage facility design incorporates progressive reclamation during life of mine

Successes

  • First filtered tailings storage facility in the world
  • Recognized as world-class case history of successful tailings management
  • Continuous permitting for 20 years of operation, including for increases in tailings storage capacity
  • Filtered tailings storage facility poses less risk to wildlife during life of mine

Papers:

Erickson, B., D. Butikofer, A. Marsh, R. Friedel, L. Murray and MJ. Piggott. 2017. “Filtered Tailings Disposal Case History: Operation and Design Considerations Part I,” in CIM Convention 2017, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Butikofer, D., B. Erickson, A. Marsh, R. Friedel, L. Murray and MJ. Piggott. 2017. “Filtered Tailings Disposal Case History: Operation and Design Considerations Part II,” in CIM Convention 2017, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Patterson, K., H. McLeod, D. Hegadoren, G. Parkinson, P. Williams and B. Murphy. 2017. “Are Filter Tailings Practical for a High Production Mine in a Cold, Wet Climate?” in Tailings and Mine Waste ’16: Proceedings, International Conference on Tailings and Mine Waste, Keystone Resort, Keystone, Colorado, October 2-5, 2016.

If you are interested in obtaining these publications, please email library@klohn.com.