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Fine Tailings Management

OKC provides fine tailings management services to optimize the tailings filling rate and maximize utilization of environmental evaporation. Field monitoring of fine tailings deposits provides a base for interpretation of the tailings dewatering behaviour. Field measurements include:

  • meteorological conditions,
  • pore-water pressure,
  • volumetric water content (VWC),
  • total earth pressure,
  • tailings surface height,
  • underlain layer settlement for multiple lift deposition, and
  • tailings temperature at surface and at depth.

A fine tailings deposit undergoing dewatering.

Evaporation, under-drainage, and surface runoff contribute differently to tailings dewatering for each specific tailings deposition facility. Proper interpretation of data collected from field monitoring offers a key understanding of fine tailings dewatering mechanisms. O’Kane Consultants’ unsaturated water flow expertise and large-strain numerical modelling greatly enhance the confidence of data interpretation, allowing the identification of major tailings dewatering mechanisms. Tailings deposition thickness can be determined in the context of the exceedance probability of achieving the desired solids content and, hence, undrained shear strength for different times of the year.


Vibrating wire piezometers, time domain reflectometers, thermistors, and a ruler are installed to measure pore water pressure, water content, temperature, and deposit height in a fine tailings deposit, respectively.