The Oyu Tolgoi Mine is a copper-gold project managed by Ivanhoe Mines Mongolia Inc. with the assistance of Fluor Canada Ltd. Fluor retained Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. to design a tailings storage facility from concept to detailed design and provide quality control services during construction of the starter dam.
The Oyu Tolgoi mine is located in the arid and seismically active South Gobi Region of Mongolia. The mine was commissioned in 2012 and treats copper-bearing sulfide ore from open pits and underground workings. The nameplate throughput used for design was 90,000 t/d with planned expansions up to 150,000 t/d. Tailings are stored in several 2 km x 2 km cell embankments 70 m high.
A key design requirement for the tailings storage facility was conservation of water due to the scarcity of surface water at the site, costs to extract groundwater and long term sustainability requirements. Therefore KCB designed the facility around a deposition strategy that would optimize water reclaim, dust control and tailings density.
KCB carried out a site investigation programs since 2006, which included geological mapping of the impoundment areas, drilling boreholes, standard penetration testing, coring boreholes, test pits, Electrical Resistivity Tomograph geophysical survey and the collection of groundwater samples for water quality assessment. A test program carried out in KCB’s laboratory included air-drying tests to assess the rate at which the tailings would desaturate and to observe the degree of potential dusting.
- Design of tailings dam
- Geotechnical/geophysical investigation
- Laboratory testing
- Dust control
- Impoundment design
- Seismic risk assessment
- Water recovery
- Construction Quality Assurance