Our expertise covers many mining and resources applications including ground support, dump walls and retaining structures, containment and lining for tailings dams and waste, mine site remediation and mining grid for underground mining operations.
Roads form the backbone of a mine’s infrastructure and cost effective and reliable pavements are required to ensure optimum mine output, particularly as they are often in remote and extreme environments.
Coupled with this, mine haul roads are subjected to far higher loading than standard highway pavements, which leads to thicker pavements or increased maintenance intervals to ensure long-term serviceability and performance.
Geofabrics provide a range of geosynthetic solutions for all parts of the road formation which can reduce construction costs by up to 30% whilst improving design life by up to six times.
Depending on the specific site requirements, an unsealed mine access road may require geotextiles for separation of the soil layers as well as Tensar geogrids, Geoweb geocells or TenCate high-strength reinforcement to improve the strength and ultimately the life of the road. There may also be the need for solutions or advice for associated embankments or drainage structures, as mine sites are generally in harsh environments with complex soils.
All of these systems have been used extensively in mining applications around Australasia and the world, and are supported with extensive research and design support.
Over time, rail infrastructure can experience significant problems such as differential settlement and unacceptable track deflection. Mud pumping is also a problem for rail operators. These issues result in speed restrictions on sections of track and frequent, disruptive maintenance. Both these factors can limit the overall performance of the mine but they can be reduced or avoided through the use of Tracktex.
Track formations which incorporate geosynthetic solutions like Geoweb and Tensar TriAx for capping layer reinforcement and track ballast stabilisation have been proven to deliver a cost saving of up to 70% when compared to a conventional construction and maintenance methods, potentially saving asset owners up to A$4.3 million for every 200 metres section of track.
Mine transport infrastructure generally also has slopes or walls associated with them, including run of mine walls at a primary crusher.
Geofabrics provides a full range of geosynthetic solutions for slopes and walls, whether it be vertical structures, hydraulic structures, portal entrances or rockfall or erosion control.
Typical solutions for slopes and wall on mine sites include Maccaferri Gabion or Keystone TW3 walls, TenCate reinforcement solutions and a full suite of Maccaferri rockfall control solutions.
Concrete Canvas, a flexible, concrete impregnated fabric that hardens when hydrated to form a thin, durable, water proof and fire resistant concrete layer which can also be used for slope protection applications.
We provide free software to support the design of these structures as well as certified designs should these be required by our clients. Our recent work has included heavily laden vertical walls in excess of 15 m in height at mine sites in Australia.
Many mines or resource projects make use of geosynthetic lining systems to contain their waste, whether it be tailings, liquids or processed waste. Geofabrics has worked hard over the past decade to understand the nuance for every type of waste involved in the resources sector, and how it influences the selection of materials for the geosynthetic lining systems.
With our own client facing R&D facility in Queensland, Geofabrics has worked on many resources projects to assist designers, contractors and mine owners to select the most appropriate materials for their site. This can include interface shear or cushion testing to understand how the system components interact, UV resistance for materials left exposed over many years, as well as chemical compatibility of each product with the waste stream.
Working with Geofabrics early in the project life has helped many engineers deliver a superior performance outcome with significant reductions in risk and cost compared to the traditional or standard lining systems.
When using geomembranes, there are times when leak detection is a required activity after installation to prove the quality of installation. Geofabrics has developed the bidim C nonwoven geotextile as a leak detection solution.
bidim C uses graphene technology to offer an effective, lower cost means for designers and installers of lining systems to undertake liner integrity surveys in newly constructed containment cells.
Geosynthetic systems can be used extensively to cap tailings dams or waste rock detentions. For example capping can be achieved using low permeability ELCOSEAL GCL and geomembrane barriers to meet the governing regulatory guidelines, whilst additional drainage systems, such as Megaflo or drainage geocomposite systems, can be used as leak collection systems as well as reduce hydrostatic head pressures acting on the liner. Geofabrics has worked with many mine sites to ensure the most appropriate lining system is developed and understood, whether it be from a chemical compatibility perspective or understanding the interaction between the various layers within the lining system.
Capping systems may require a reinforcement solution over the tailings, such as a woven high-strength geotextile or geogrid. Design of such systems need to consider various factors, including the nature of the tailings, water level, seismic loads, construction techniques etc. Soft site impoundments can be very soft and may cover a large area, making the closure difficult to construct. The soft site impoundments can also be below or above water level. Despite the complexities, capping of soft site closures are possible with medium to high strength TenCate Mirafi® Woven Geotextiles which have the functions of separation, filtration and reinforcement within one geotextile. TenCate Mirafi® woven geotextiles can be fabricated in the factory or on-site into large panels with high seam efficiencies to facilitate site installation and minimize geotextile wastage.
A cost-effective solution for the dewatering of sludge or removing fine sediments from site run-off is to make use of geosynthetic dewatering systems. TenCate Geotube dewatering technology uses high strength geotextiles with unique filtration and retention properties to provide solutions to mining and mineral processing.
Dewatering of waste water and sludge is commonly achieved by pumping the slurry into permeable geotextile tubes, treating with site specific flocculants and allowing the moisture to either evaporate through the geotextile or drain through the geotextile pores under significant pressure. The run-off from the dewatering process can be reused or treated and returned to native waterways while the sediment or waste can be re-processed or detained.
Whilst the road network in underground mines are critical to the efficiency and safety of a mines operations, some mines require frequent maintenance of their road network due to water ingress, soil conditions or vehicle loads.
Geofabrics has completed many projects using Tensar geogrids or Geoweb geocells where the maintenance cycle for the underground road network is greatly extended, reducing costs and increasing mine productivity.
At every mine portal entrance, there is a need to minimise or eliminate falling debris from the rock face above the portal. For many years, Geofabrics has worked with mine operators or drilling contractors to create a safe working environment through use of Maccaferri rockfall netting and other rockfall control systems.
Underground mining can be a dirty business, and we have solutions to help mine operators achieve greater performance and environmental outcomes – including the use of TenCate Geotube dewatering systems for coal wash down areas.
Sediment ponds around the mine sites are also common, with ELCOSEAL GCL used many times as a simple-to-install lining system, otherwise HDPE geomembrane with needle-free bidim geotextile is another common solution.