The Manitou Mine sulphidic-tailings storage facility No. 2, near Val D’Or, Canada, was reclaimed in 2009 by elevating the water table and applying a monolayer cover made of tailings from nearby Goldex Mine. Previous studies showed that production of acid mine drainage can be controlled by lowering the oxygen flux through Manitou tailings with a water table maintained at the interface between the cover and reactive tailings. Simulations of different scenarios were performed using numerical hydrogeological modeling to evaluate the capacity of the reclamation works to maintain the phreatic surface at this interface. A large-scale numerical model was constructed and calibrated using 3 years of field measurements. This model reproduced the field measurements, including the existence of a western zone on the site where the phreatic level targeted is not always met during the summer. A sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the response of the model to varying saturated hydraulic conductivities, porosities, and grain-size distributions. Higher variations of the hydraulic heads, with respect to the calibrated scenario results, were observed when simulating a looser or coarser cover material. Long-term responses were simulated using: the normal climatic data, data for a normal climate with a 2-month dry spell, and a simplified climate-change case. Environmental quality targets were reached less frequently during summer for the dry spell simulation as well as for the simplified climate-change scenario. This study illustrates how numerical simulations can be used as a key tool to assess the eventual performance of various mine-site reclamation scenarios.
Hydrogeology Journal – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 8, 2018
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