Surface and groundwater monitoring and seepage control at the Sungun Copper Mine

Operational aspects and case histories of mine waste storage


Farshad Rashidi-Nejad


Islamic Azad University

Mine tailings represent one of the two largest sources of mine waste from the minerals industries (the other being waste rock). Given the problems of declining ore grades and growing production, tailings generation is increasing exponentially across the global mining industry. Common practice is for mines to build large containment dams to store tailings during operations, which are then rehabilitated following mine closure. At some sites, however, the controversial practices of riverine or marine dumping of tailings is still practiced. Sungun Copper Mine, which is the second largest copper mining operation in Iran has a huge tailings storage facility with a seepage control dam located downstream of the main dam. Surface and groundwater in surrounding area of the tailings storage facility has been monitored for ten years. This paper will discuss the results of the surface and groundwater monitoring and seepage control at the Sungun Copper Mine.

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