Seepage Induced Consolidation Test : characterization of mature fine tailings
Managing oil sand slurry tailings waste is a significant issue in the oil sands industry and thus accurate characterization of the tailings is required. Conventional soil characterization tests usually involve one or more limiting assumptions such as small strains and constant coefficients of consolidation and hydraulic conductivity. These limitations are significant when testing low density slurries such as dredged soils and mining waste. One unconventional test in particular, the Seepage
... ed Consolidation Test (SICT) has been shown to accurately determine compressibility and permeability relations for low density slurries. The SICT was first constructed at the Colorado University (CU) in Boulder, Colorado and has been used for the past two decades to characterize phosphate slurry tailings. Over the last two years a SICT was constructed at the University of British Columbia to provide accurate consolidation characterization of oil sand waste, in particular, mature fine tailings (MFT). Benchmark testing was initially performed on kaolinite clay at the UBC laboratory and results showed the test was repeatable and comparable to results obtained at CU. Test results on MFT at UBC also proved to be in agreement with published data from CU. The use of the SICT helps in the understanding of MFT and the characterization results can be directly used in into large strain consolidation modeling such as CONDES0 1D and SoilVision's SVOffice 1D, 2D, and 3D software programs. These and other similar models, which are dependent on the compressibility and permeability relations from the SICT, can be used in the design of waste disposal strategies at every stage of a mining project.