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A Column Experiment to Study the Drying Behaviour of Mature Fine Tailing

Anis Roshani, Mamadou Fall, and Kevin Kennedy
University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Abstract—Oil sands in Alberta have been excavated to extract bitumen over the past five decades. Continual accumulation of fine tailing and high risk of failure associated with constructed dams are considered as a serious problem for this industry. Recent regulatory changes have forced this industry to investigate on more effective technologies to control and reduce this inventory. Multi-lift deposition of oil sand tailings could be appropriate solution in order to meet regulatory requirement. However, this approach could not be viable if the addition of more lifts compromise the developed strength in the former layers. Moreover, hydraulic and mechanical properties that are strongly coupled, can affect geotechnical behavior of deposited tailing. In this study, the evolution of coupled hydraulic and mechanical properties of mature fine tailing (MFT) has been studied by means of column experiment under atmospheric condition. The results obtained have shown that, by adding the second lift, former lift initially lost the suction developed in this layer; but this effect was not permanent and over a 30 days period, recovered to prior values. Strongly coupled hydraulic and mechanical behavior is due to several mechanisms, such as evaporation, drainage, and self-consolidation, suction and crack development. Based on the obtained data, two-lift deposition can be considered as an efficient reclamation plans to minimize dedicated disposal areas (DDAs). 

Index Terms—tailings, oil sand, environment, drying, multi-lift deposition

Cite: Anis Roshani, Mamadou Fall, and Kevin Kennedy, "A Column Experiment to Study the Drying Behaviour of Mature Fine Tailing," Journal of Industrial and Intelligent Information, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 268-272, July 2016. doi: 10.18178/jiii.4.4.268-272
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