Geotechnical Investigation of Tailings Disposal Site for Tailings Storage of zinc Processing Factory

Document Type : Original Research Paper


College of Environment, P.O.Box 31746-118, Karaj, Iran Research Group of Environmental Engineering, Research Center for Environment and Sustainable Development, P.O.Box 463913116, Teheran, Iran


The present study aims at determining the geotechnical properties of the tailings and the natural bed at Iran Mineral Processing Company, Sites 1 and 5. It qualitatively studies the subsurface layers of the company’s tailings storage site. After drilling different boreholes and conducting in-situ tests, it has made laboratory analyses in the form of field exploration to determine the geotechnical parameters of the extracted samples. Results from the analyses show the permeability coefficient of the subsurface layer of Site No. 1 and 5 to be very small, in the range of 10-7 cm/sec. Considering the conformity of permeability coefficient, percentage of fine grains (98% to 99%), plasticity index (28.5-29.5), and clay content of different layers of Sites 1 and 5 (68%-80%), based on the compacted clay liner criteria, it can be concluded that by nature, the subsurface layers of the mentioned sites are sealed with no need for any compacted clay liner. The tailings for storage Site 5 are fine-grained (80-88<75mm), basically in ML range according to USCS system, with a permeability coefficient of about 10-6 cm/sec. Therefore, the tailings themselves act as a relatively primary sealing layer against the infiltration of hazardous leachates into the natural bed. The method, used in the process of site selection of tailings storage facilities (TSF), can cut the construction time as well as the expenditures, thus reducing the production costs in the long run.


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