Traditional mine process thinking has considered rehabilitation planning and associated costs to a site once operations have ceased. This has led to a numerous legacy sites that remain unrehabilitated, but also created large lump sum costs for the mining company who is intent on implementing best practice once production has ceased.
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Enabiling revegitation
ENABLING REVEGETATION
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Surface Drainage
Drainage, Dewatering, Water Management And Dewatering
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Sediment Control
Erosion Control And Rehabilitation
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Mine Closure
Bridging Old Workings On Legacy Sites
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Access to enable capping
Access To Enable Capping Of Tailings Dams And Open Pits
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Containing contaminants
Containing Contaminants – Lining And Capping Waste Storages And Open Pits

Geofabrics expertise in Mine Rehabilitation & Erosion Control

Geosynthetics when applied with the right expertise, provide the most economic options to rehabilitate legacy sites because they provide portable methods to contain contaminants and enable rehabilitation in remote areas that no longer have operating staff and resources. The modern day mine must operate daily with rehabilitation and closure in mind, which has a twofold benefit of meeting ongoing environmental obligations, but also reducing lump costs when operations cease. To maximise costs and benefits, onsite staff must be able to implement simple erosion control methods, facilitate ongoing revegetation with limited resources, and ensure that areas where operations cease have best practice closure progressively applied. Geosynthetic options, when accompanied with Geofabric’s expertise can facilitate much better management of water, reduce sediment erosion, encapsulate critical contaminants, and enable efficient revegetation to areas deemed ready for closure.

Geofabrics has extensive experience in generating these solutions for;

  • Containing and Encapsulating sources of Mine Waste
  • Capping Access over Tailings and Open Pits
  • Drainage, Dewatering and Water Management
  • Bridging old Workings
  • Mine Site Erosion and Sediment Control
  • Final Rehabilitation and Revegetation

 

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Enabling revegitation

ENABLING REVEGETATION

Following mining, the land must be returned to a stable and self-sustaining condition and it is vital to create a vegetated covering that blends into the natural environment. The combination of natural and/or synthetic materials to encourage the growth and establishment of vegetation depends on the local environment and the desired finish.

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FEATURED PRODUCT SOLUTIONS

Synthetic Erosion Mats

Grassroots® is a synthetic erosion control and root reinforcement mat designed to provide long term protection and support to vegetation on slopes and non-perennial stormwater channels. Consisting of a coarse polypropylene staple fibre mat attached to lightweight polypropylene mesh, Grassroots® is a 3-dimensional mat which allows seeds to germinate in and grow through the structure. Grassroots® is most effective when used in conjunction with hydro-seeding. This ensures that as the vegetation establishes itself the root system intertwines with the mat structures thus producing integral reinforcement and offering a mechanical stability.

Biodegradeable Mats

Jute Mesh and Jutemaster® are biodegradable mats manufactured from Jute fibre, that have high tensile strength and low extensibility. Advantages of jute include good insulating properties, low thermal conductivity and a high moisture absorption capacity. All these factors enhance vegetation generation. Jutemaster® is primarily used on embankments and slopes where the natural vegetation has been removed and must be re-established. The product provides the following functions; moisture retention, weed suppression and rainfall impact protection. The choice of Jute Mesh or Jutemaster® on an exposed slope will biodegrade over time, providing organic nutrients to the newly established vegetation and the choice of product requires key design support to understand the longevity of the solution, sediment retention capability, ability to revegetate, and resist water velocities.

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Surface Drainage

Drainage, Dewatering, Water Management and Dewatering

Drainage of stormwater is critical to protect areas of rehabilitation on a minesite, particularly during periods of early establishment of revegetation. The key areas where Geosynthetic Drainage systems are utilised is to restrict water entering rehabilitated waste and tailings storages, ensure that rain events do not compromise rehabilitated landforms and manage runoff volumes leaving the site footprint.

Options include silt fences and surface erosion treatments to prevent surface sediment loss, traditional “roadside drains” to divert stormwater around infrastructure, open channel drains that are Geotextiles beneath rock for larger volumes, progressing to synthetic Erosion Control options and then high velocity use of Gabions and Reno Mattresses for river training. Each solution requires careful analysis in regard to drainage volumes and velocities, and the Geofabrics GRID Laboratory can provide extensive design support for these applications.

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FEATURED PRODUCT SOLUTIONS

Geotube Sludge Dewatering

The first aim when considering the rehabilitation of waste and sludge storage is to restrict the amount of water vs solids in the slurry to be contained. High water content increases the volumes of contaminant to be contained, but also presents Geotechnical stability challenges when attempting to rehabilitate. Geotube dewatering tubes are used to increase solids content of sludge to be contained which makes it easier to rehabilitate, but can also polish water sufficiently for use to positively achieve revegetation release into the environment. This process requires significant technical support and testing to ensure that the solids content is maintained at maximum and that the water is polished sufficiently to not present further environmental risk.

Geotube containers use an engineered textile designed for dewatering high moisture content sludge and sediment. They are available in many sizes, depending on your volume and space requirements and have a demonstrated history for dewatering tailings, sediment ponds and critical applications. The Geofabrics GRID Laboratory has a formal process than can be provided to analyse the site sludge and create a bespoke solution for your site that ensures maximum solids content and polishing of water for reuse.

Wick Drains for stability

Wick drains are designed to speed up the consolidation of compressible soils by providing shorter flow paths for water contained in the soil. As the soil consolidates its strength improves which will allow higher loading from larger stockpiles. The use of wick drains can reduce consolidation times from years to months and facilitate more rapid access to sludge sites that require rehabilitation.

Range offers an effective, lower cost means for designers and installers of lining systems to undertake liner integrity surveys in newly constructed containment projects.

Megaflo Pannel Drainage

Megaflo® flat drainage pipe provide high crush strength conduits capture both groundwater below the lining system and function as the primary capping drainage system. The advantage of the flat panel system is that it requires shallow subgrade trenches for groundwater capture, but also can be installed directly onto the liner to enable maximum drainage performance. 

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Sediment Control

EROSION CONTROL AND REHABILITATION 

Mine site surface remediation and revegetation is an integral component of operations from exploration to mine closure and there is a need to minimise and mitigate the environmental effects of vegetation clearance and potential for sediment movement through wind and water erosion. The visual perception of dust generation and water erosion presents a clear challenge to the environmental requirements of a site, and does not present a visual perception of a site that is well managed environmentally with progressive rehabilitation in mind. There is also a fundamental cost benefit in addressing surface erosion immediately in localised areas, rather than having to deal with large scale erosion which has been ignored over a number of years. Geofabrics Australasia are world experts in selecting Geosynthetic Erosion solutions that link directly to your site conditions, to maximise both the technical and cost benefit for best practice rehabilitation and revegetation. 
 

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The first and cheapest option is to apply clever engineering controls to allow the retention of sediments and slow water velocities where they can be generated during soil exposed during operations. The long term aim in using geosynthetics in erosion control is to maintain soil cover either as a temporary measure offering protection from soil loss, establish vegetation rapidly and reinforce it long term as a permanent control measure, and slow water velocities typically on steeper slopes or high flow channels. 

  • Silt Fence, Coco Logs, Sediment Barriers
  • Biodegradeable Erosion Mats – Jute Mesh and Jutemaster
  • Synthetic Erosion Mats
  • Geoweb Channels
  • Maccaferri Gabions and Reno Mattresses
  • Concrete Canvas

Erosion can cause major damage to the environment and existing structures. Erosion causes the siltation of stormwater systems which results in unnecessary flooding, damage to property and contamination of rivers and streams. This erosion can occur along well-defined flow paths and as overland flow in shallow depths, known as sheet flow. Several types of geosynthetics are used to prevent or repair erosion problems.

Mine site remediation is an integral component of operations from exploration and mining with the need to minimise and mitigate the environmental effects and visual impact of operations such as tailings dams and general mining practices. Following mining, the land must be returned to a stable, self-sustaining condition and it is vital to create a vegetated covering that blends into the natural environment. The combination of natural and/or synthetic materials can be utilised to encourage the growth and establishment of vegetation.

FEATURED PRODUCT SOLUTIONS

Silt Fence, Coco Logs, Sediment Barriers and Temporary Geotextile Dust Control

Silt fences and Coco Logs are temporary vertical sediment barriers manufactured from light weight woven geotextiles or rolled Coir Fibre that serve to both slow down surface velocities whilst preventing sediment movement onsite. These systems waterways and water storages from contamination by silt, sediment, and construction debris. Silt fences are designed to intercept sheet or overland flow and are spaced at regular intervals so that water velocity of overland flow is minimised. Silt fences should be maintained until the natural vegetation is established and then removed.

Biodegradeable Mats

Jute Mesh and Jutemaster® are biodegradable mats manufactured from Jute fibre, that have high tensile strength and low extensibility. Advantages of jute include good insulating properties, low thermal conductivity and a high moisture absorption capacity. All these factors enhance vegetation generation. Jutemaster® is primarily used on embankments and slopes where the natural vegetation has been removed and must be re-established. The product provides the following functions; moisture retention, weed suppression and rainfall impact protection. The choice of Jute Mesh or Jutemaster® on an exposed slope will biodegrade over time, providing organic nutrients to the newly established vegetation and the choice of product requires key design support to understand the longevity of the solution, sediment retention capability, ability to revegetate, and resist water velocities.

Synthetic Erosion Mats – Grassroots and Enkamat

Grassroots® is a synthetic erosion control and root reinforcement mat designed to provide long term protection and support to vegetation on slopes and non-perennial stormwater channels. Consisting of a coarse polypropylene staple fibre mat attached to lightweight polypropylene mesh, Grassroots® is a 3-dimensional mat which allows seeds to germinate in and grow through the structure. Grassroots® is most effective when used in conjunction with hydro-seeding. This ensures that as the vegetation establishes itself the root system intertwines with the mat structures thus producing integral reinforcement and offering a mechanical stability

Geoweb Channel

The Geoweb system consists of a robust three-dimensional structure housing a network of interconnected cells that confine and compact soil. The confinement action prevents erosion and improves the structural performance of the soil or aggregate infill providing an alternative to reinforced concrete or armour.

Maccaferri Gabions

Maccaferri Gabion baskets are rectangular wire mesh cages manufactured from double twisted hexagonal mesh that are site filled with hard durable rock to form an earth retaining structure. Maccaferri Gabions can be stepped, vertical or battered to suit your project. They offer an environmentally friendly alternative with low installation costs.

Maccaferri Reno Mattresses

Maccaferri Reno Mattresses, also known as rock mattresses, are thin, flexible rectangular mesh cages made from double twisted woven wire mesh. The cages are divided into cells and filled with rock to limit water velocities in areas of high-flow conditions.

Concrete Canvas Impermeable Channels

Concrete Canvas® is a Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mat (GCCM), part of a revolutionary new class of construction materials. It is a flexible, concrete filled geosynthetic that hardens on hydration to form a thin, durable, water proof and fire resistant concrete layer. Essentially, it’s concrete on a roll. The material is predominantly used for erosion control applications such as ditch lining and slope protection, offering a faster, more cost effective alternative to conventional concrete.
 

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Mine Closure

BRIDGING OLD WORKINGS ON LEGACY SITES

A clear OHS issue of legacy mine sites that remain unrehabilitated are both the legacy risk of open pits that contain contaminants (see capping and containing of waste), but there are often old workings in the form of open shafts, open pits and other associated infrastructure that present significant risk to the general public who will get access to the site.

Geofabrics has a range of Geosynthetics to facilitate the capping of this type of infrastructure, that present as the most cost efficient methods to bridge old voids on abandoned sites and render them safe for future access

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FEATURE PRODUCT SOLUTIONS

TenCate High Strength Geotextiles on Extremely Soft Soils

TenCate high strength geotextiles can be laid directly over voids that are filled with low bearing capacity soils to create a reinforcement function and render the mine void safe for any traffic that crosses the legacy site. The design alternative is ordinarily only achieved through high volumes of imported soil to fill a void, with prescribed plant to construct, prescribed design criteria to be met, left to consolidate over an extended period.

The Geotextile both separates introduced material and provides a reinforcement function, so understanding the soil parameters, and installation method onsite is critical to correct Geotextile selection. 

Tensar Geogrid Mechanical Stabilisation

The Tensar TriAx  is the most advanced geogrid in today’s market and the result of 30 years continual innovation and development in bridging low bearing capacity voids for Roads, Embankments and Working Platforms construction. This capability when coupled with a Geotextile lends very well to the capping of voids on legacy mine sites.

GEOWEB Mechanical Stabilisation

A Geoweb Cellular Confinement System can be laid above a bidim geotextile, to provide a surface stabilisation system to bridge old working voids. The structure distributes surface stresses extremely effectively to prevent deflection and increase the bearing capacity at the surface to prevent OHS risk over legacy site workings.

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Access to enable capping

ACCESS TO ENABLE CAPPING OF TAILINGS DAMS AND OPEN PITS

The first challenge in remediation of mine waste storages is often based around access to the site to construct the capping layer. Geofabrics has design strategies that enable the use of High Strength Geotextiles or Geogrids to enable cap access and create a bearing capacity that can be trafficked with construction plant. Unlike civil engineering solutions, the liquor chemistry must be considered in terms of Geosynthetic performance, as stress-strain behaviour will change if the polymer is impacted by acid or high pH environments.

The Geofabrics GRID Laboratory provide a high level of technical support to make sure your project is implemented effectively and efficiently using the correct type of reinforcement to gain access. It is also critical that the installation process links to the product of choice, and Geofabrics has extensive experience to support the site in this regard.
 

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FEATURED PRODUCT SOLUTIONS

TenCate High Strength Geotextiles on Extremely Soft Soils

TenCate high strength geotextiles can be laid directly on the tailings or sludge to increase the shear strength of the fill material and see an increase in foundation bearing capacity. This enables rapid site access and construction, ordinarily only achieved through high volumes of imported soil, left to consolidate over an extended period.

The Geotextile both separates introduced material and provides a reinforcement function, so understanding the soil parameters and installation method onsite is critical to correct Geotextile selection. For critical tailings applications design must consider the Polymer utilised to manufacture the product, which will see loss of tensile performance if incompatible to site chemistry. The Geofabrics GRID and Technical Hub are well versed to support with this expertise.

Tensar Geogrid Mechanical Stabilisation

The Tensar TriAx  is the most advanced geogrid in today’s market and the result of 30 years continual innovation and development in designing superior Roads, Embankments and Working Platforms . The key Tensar design principle is to mechanically stabilise soils available for capping construction, which results in a positive shear response through the capping depth and a structurally superior formation for construction traffic. To achieve maximum benefit, the choice of Geogrid must be designed link to the construction process and load conditions. The net result is a site-specific cost saving by implementing a thinner soil layer that achieves increased bearing capacity and stability under load.

GEOWEB Mechanical Stabilisation

A Geoweb Cellular Confinement System can be laid above a bidim geotextile on the tailings surface, to provide a thin soil layer that provides maximum bearing capacity for construction traffic. The structure distributes surface stresses extremely effectively to prevent soil shear failures, whilst also allowing a thin pavement construction to maximise soil performance under construction loads. 

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Containing contaminants

CONTAINING CONTAMINANTS – LINING AND CAPPING WASTE STORAGES AND OPEN PITS

Mining companies must now demonstrate processes that meet an increasingly critical public perception in regard to their social and environmental licences to operate. 
The incorporation of high end engineered geosynthetics in the lining and capping of mine waste and tailings, is seen as the optimum solution to mitigate groundwater contamination. The key advantage of Geosynthetic liners for closure is that they exhibit consistent hydraulic performance across the footprint when compared to soil liners, and can be designed and tested with extended longevity to work in conjunction with the revegetated landform. The suitability of the geosynthetics should be vigorously analysed at the Geofabrics GRID Laboratory, to ensure their compatibility with any waste chemistry in contact and that they can survive the settlement stresses long term.

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The choice of capping system must demonstrate site longevity, and will depend on the liquor chemistry, rainfall and exposure conditions, as well as the site stresses and properties of surrounding soils. The first lining option reviewed is generally a Polymeric Geomembrane and Geofabrics has a range of options to suit site conditions. An Elcoseal Geosynthetic Clay Liner can be used as a composite layer or as a stand alone option if conditions allow. For specific function, the option of a Bituminous Geomembrane could be utilized but for each option it is critical that site performance criteria are established.

A Geocomposite or Megaflo Panel Drainage system can also be utilised above the liner to remove stormwater from above the lining system in areas of high rainfall.

Featured Product Solutions

Polymeric Geomembranes

Geofabrics has access to premium Geomembranes sourced from around the world. From commonly specified High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Geomembranes to select polymer liners to meet specific waste chemistry. Solutions must be designed specifically to the chemistry of the liquor to be detained, meet the project stress conditions and ensure that atmospheric exposure (UV, Temperature) does not compromise the liner design life. The Geofabrics GRID Laboratory has the testing capability to establish specific site liner performance, the choice of polymer with a decade worth of data in this field.

Elcoseal Geosynthetic Clay Liners

Elcoseal Geosynthetic Clay Liners (GCLs) are hydraulic barriers that consist of a thin layer of high quality bentonite sandwiched between two or more Geotextiles. These present both as single liners and composite liners in conjunction with Geomembranes to cap tailings dams, pits and other waste storages. There is a critical need for GCLs to establish chemical compatibility and exposure compatibility of the bentonite and ensure the Geotextile components provide sufficient shear strength to survive site stresses. Geofabrics has a range of GCL options that link to interface shear testing and hydraulic testing with a range of liquors at the GRID laboratory.

Bituminous Geomembranes

Teranap's bituminous geomembranes (BGMs) are a reliable waterproofing system engineered to suit challenging site conditions that compromise other liner options. Teranap has unique mechanical properties that have high robustness to survive challenging subgrades and cover soils, and overcome site conditions that would be detrimental to other liners.

Protection and Filter Geotextiles  - Geofabrics bidim or Texcel

A Geotextile is used to either serve a protection function for the Geomembrane Liner, or a critical filter function to prevent erosion of surface cover soils, it is critical that the right product is established through direct testing at the Geofabrics GRID laboratory with site soils.

Teranap uses a modified form of bitumen with a high level of chemical resistance and useable temperature range, while keeping its natural waterproofing qualities. The Geofabrics GRID laboratory can analyse damage factors, chemical compatibility and friction properties to ensure the BGM is compatible to your site.

Protection or Cushion Geotextiles

In terms of Cushion Geotextile function, the bidim nonwoven geotextiles have a three-dimensional structure that provides maximum protection function per mass, so will always be the first choice for Geomembrane protection to maximise costs. The Texcel Range of Staple Fibre Geotextiles made from either Polyester or Polypropylene are designed for specific polymer, exposure or high stress conditions. The critical design criteria can be established through the Geofabrics GRID Laboratory, that has a decade of analysing Protection Geotextiles over Geomembranes to demonstrate technical performance and maximise bang for buck for the Geotextile selected.

Geotextile Filters

Geotextile Filters are critical to maximise drainage performance, and the correct type can provide numerous benefits to maximise both water through flow and solids retention. A well-designed filter geotextile prevents clogging of drainage aggregate or more critically Drainage Geonets with soil, ensuring design performance is maintained long term.

The choice of Geotextile will begin with polymer compatibility and can be subjected to desktop filter design. The key cost saving opportunity is presented by the Geofabrics GRID Laboratory which has 10 years of testing and data with site soils, to achieve maximum filter and subsequent drainage performance.

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