Seepage and Stability Analysis of Taconite Tailings Basin

John W. Hayden, Paul Christiano

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Recent environmental concerns have required an increasing number of tailing ponds for the control of mine tailings and treatment water. Many of these retention pond dikes which have been sealed in some manner to prevent water losses are being constructed with coarse taconite tailings. Although the typical tailings pond dike represents to the laymen a rather ugly pile of waste material, the embankment is a structural mass subject to failure if not properly designed by the mine engineers. Failure of a dike constructed in Northern Minnesota may not be disastrous in terms of loss of life; however, failure would cause serious financial loss as well as damage to the local environment. For these reasons care should be exercised in the design of a tailings pond dike. This study was conducted to assist the Minnesota Ore Operations Department of U.S. Steel Corporation at Mt. Iron, Minnesota, in the design and analysis of the proposed expansion of an existing tailings pond and dike at the Minntac plant. Two aspects were worked on in detail: (1) stability analysis of the various proposed dike configurations for a wide range of values of physical properties for both the dike and the underlying materials; and (2) permeability and seepage analysis of proposed dike materials and dike configurations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jul 1971


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