Tailings may undergo desiccation stress history under varied climatic and depositional parameters. While tailings substantially dewatered prior to deposition may experience desiccation under the greatest range of climatic variation, even conventionally deposited tailings may desiccate in arid climates at lower rates of rise. Bench-scale research has shown that the stress history imparted by desiccation substantially improves strength in gold tailings. The present study further investigates this phenomenon by simulating multi-layer deposition of high-density tailings using a modular drying box, 0.7mby 1 m inplan. The box is instrumented for directly measuring evaporation, drainage, water content, vertical volume change, and matric suction. Additional measurements included total suction at the surface as well as observations of crack development. The dewatering behaviour conforms to that predicted by previously published generic modelling, specifically that the presence of partially desiccated tailings initially accelerates, but then decelerates dewatering of fresh tailings. The shear behaviour of samples obtained using buried tubes and by driving thin-wall tubes into the multi-layer simulation are compared with shear behaviour of samples from bench-scale experiments. Shear strength of samples from the multi-layer simulation is independent of the sampling method, and shows higher strength than the bench-scale samples. The higher strength may be due to the greater number of wet-dry cycles or other age-related processes.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cyclic, Desiccation, Drying box, Simple shear, Tailings
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1139/cgj-2014-0411
Journal Canadian Geotechnical Journal
Daliri, F. (Farzad), Simms, P, & Sivathayalan, S. (2016). Shear and dewatering behaviour of densified gold tailings in a laboratory simulation of multi-layer deposition. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 53(8), 1246–1257. doi:10.1139/cgj-2014-0411