Increasing transparency and accessibility of a slurry consolidation model in GoldSim

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  • Reclamation of slurry materials such as mine tailings requires effective management of consolidation-induced water release in the long-term. This is particularly challenging for flocculated or thickened tailings which require excessive time to fully consolidate to the final landform due to their low permeability and high clay content. Most software that predicts magnitude and rate of slurry consolidation are proprietary with a black-box implementation of the theory of one-dimensional consolidation of saturated clays by Gibson et al. This paper discusses the development of TMSim-Consol, an open-source slurry consolidation model implemented in GoldSim, a system-based simulation environment widely used by the mining and hydropower industry. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the feasibility of coding an explicit finite difference solution scheme in GoldSim. All variables and relationships in TMSim-Consol are explicitly modelled and visible to users in the free version of GoldSim (i.e. GoldSim Player). One of the model outputs include consolidation-induced water flow which can be added as an input parameter to existing water balance and geochemical models. The capability of the model is demonstrated by benchmarking against several validation case studies from current commercial software. This paper also discusses best practices and lessons learned during the modelling process.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International