Development of a Tailings Management Simulation and Technology Evaluation Tool Open Access
- Other title
mature fine tailings
cross flow filtration
- Type of item
- Degree grantor
University of Alberta
- Author or creator
Beier, Nicholas A
- Supervisor and department
Morgenstern, Norbert (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Sego, David (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Wilson, Ward (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
- Examining committee member and department
Askari-Nasab, Hooman (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Martin, Derek (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Bussière,Bruno (Universite du Quebec)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Date accepted
- Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
- Degree level
This research aims to assist in the assessment of tailings management technologies through the development of a dynamic simulation model. The developed model (TMSim) incorporates the mine plan, various stages of dewatering including classification, pre- and post-deposition dewatering, and an impoundment material balance including tailings, process water, construction material and capping materials. Through simulations of a simple metal mine operation and a complex oil sands operation, TMSim demonstrated it can evaluate technologies and mine plans and diagnose potential drawbacks and strengths. This information can then be used to strategically guide and support technology development and resource expenditure.
During the evaluation of oil sands fine tailings technologies, it was found that the use of chemical amendments (flocculants) to augment dewatering and strength gain may present some challenges. Chemically-amended fine tailings can have low storage efficiencies and these deposits may exhibit sensitive, metastable behavior upon deposition. Additionally, flocculation of fine tailings may actually hinder the self-weight consolidation process through the development of an apparent pre-consolidation pressure.
The TMSim modelling tool was utilized to simulate a model oil sands mine based on the Syncrude Aurora North mine utilizing composite tailings (CT) technology. Model inputs and functions were based on publicly available sources of information. Based on the mass balance agreement with the Syncrude tailings plan, the TMSim model was established to be an effective quantitative tool that can be used in the evaluation of technologies for oil sands mining operations.
A tailings plan was compiled using a novel dewatering technology, cross flow filtration (CFF), as the core tailings technology. The CFF tailings plan was then evaluated with the TMSim model and the model oil sands mine plan. The cross flow filtration process provides an opportunity to deposit high density tailings stacks requiring minimal containment. Two thirds of the yearly process water demand can also be satisfied by immediate recycle from the CFF process resulting in lower green house gas production. Additionally, if fluid fine tailings (FFT) spiking is incorporated, existing inventories of FFT can be consumed and stored in the pore space of the CFF tailings.
- Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
- Citation for previous publication
Beier, N. and Sego, D. (2008). Dewatering of Oil Sands Tailings Using Cross Flow Filtration. 61st Canadian Geotechnical Conference and 9th joint IAH-CNC Groundwater Specialty Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, September 22-24, 2008. 8 ppBeier, N., Alostaz, M. and Sego, D. 2009. Natural Dewatering Strategies for Oil Sands Fine Tailings. Tailings and Mine Waste 2009 Conference, Banff, Alberta, November 1-4, 2009. 845-858Beier, N., Sego, D., and Morgenstern, N. 2009. Dynamic Simulation of tailings Management Options. Tailings and Mine Waste 2009 Conference, Banff, Alberta, November 1-4, 2009. 441-450.Beier, N., Sego, D., and Morgenstern, N. 2009. Dynamic Simulation of tailings Management Options. Tailings and Mine Waste 2009 Conference, Banff, Alberta, November 1-4, 2009. 441-450.Beier, N., Sego, D., and Morgenstern, N. 2012. Simulation of Tailings Management Options. 3rd International Oil Sands Tailings Conference, Edmonton, Ab. Dec 5-8, 2012. 9 ppBeier, N.A., Wilson, G.W., Dunmola, A., and Sego, D.C. 2012. Geotechnical Aspects of Flocculation-based Technologies for Dewatering Mature Fine Tailings. 65th Canadian Geotechnical Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 30 – October 3, 2012. 8 ppBeier, N.A., Wilson, G.W., Dunmola, A., and Sego, D.C. 2013. Impact of flocculation-based dewatering on the shear strength of oil sands fine tailings. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2013, 50(9) 1001-1007.Beier, N., Sego, D., and Morgenstern, N. 2014. Assessing a novel technology using a tailings management simulation model. 4th International Oil Sands Tailings Conference, Edmonton, Ab. Dec 7-10, 2014. 10 pp
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