An Introduction to INAP’s Global Cover System Design Technical Guidance Document

An Introduction to INAP’s Global Cover System Design Technical Guidance Document

Brief Short Course Overview

INAP’s Global Cover System Design Technical Guidance Document builds on previous technical guidance documents on cover system design, construction, and performance monitoring. The Document, and therefore this short course, will be of interest to individuals who are seeking more detailed information than what is outlined in Section 6.6.6 of the GARD Guide- Engineered Barriers.

The Document is a technical document designed primarily for those investigating the use of cover systems on their mine sites. A holistic framework for management of reactive materials during operations and at closure is the pillar of the Document. The framework for cover system design is presented at a high level, suitable for readers with minimal technical background. It is presented at a conceptual level, using a hierarchy of climate, geology and materials, and topography, leading to an understanding of the patterns of water movement on a specific landscape. Ultimately, these elements will govern how cover systems perform, and it is up to designers to manipulate them to achieve desired performance.

This document presents a conceptual model of how cover system designs might affect contaminant and acidity loading. This model attempts to determine when the varying roles of the cover system design (e.g. control of net percolation or oxygen ingress), might influence loadings. Acknowledgment of these unique relationships provides an opportunity to optimize AMD management in a cost-effective manner. Other key concepts discussed within the document are the role cover systems play over the life of the mine from early conceptualization to long-term performance monitoring considerations.

Application of the holistic framework is achieved through the use of a cover system design tool that walks users through relevant climatic factors to optimise cover system design alternative for a desired performance design criteria. This allows users to understand what a realistic objective is when developing cover system design alternatives based on site-specific climate conditions. Additionally, the tool refers to specific elements integral to the design.  The tool helps identify where potential for management exists on the site, leading to the selection of the most appropriate form of prevention.

The information provided within the tool is not a replacement for site-specific classification and engineering required for cover system design. However, the tool is a means of beginning early conceptualisation to help focus further investigation at a site level and to begin to form realistic expectations for cover system performance at an early stage of a project.

Short Course Instructors

The short course will be led by Mike O’Kane, O’Kane Consultants (Canada) and Josh Pearce, O’Kane Consultants (Perth). 

Mike O’Kane, P.Eng. is the president of O’Kane Consultants (OKC) with offices in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and USA.  Mike received his B.Sc. in civil engineering and is M.Sc. in geotechnical engineering from the University of Saskatchewan.  Mike received the University of Saskatchewan Alumni Achievement Award in 2014 for “Global Development of his Business and Corporation, and Philanthropy”.

Mike has over 20 years of experience bringing a holistic, and integrated, approach to mine waste management and closure planning.  He uses risk management and his wide-ranging technical expertise as key tools for development and communication of closure objectives and closure plans.  He also is an expert on the application of geochemistry and unsaturated zone hydrology to closure of tailings, waste rock, and heap leach storage facilities.

Josh Pearce is a Senior Environmental Geochemist in OKC’s Perth Office with nine years’ experience in environmental consultancy and specialising in AMD assessments.  Josh has experience in geochemistry related assessments for the mining, oil and gas, land development and transportation sectors including AMD risk assessment, waste rock and ore geochemical characterisations (static and kinetic), waste storage facility contaminant load modelling, large scale column leach testing and the preparation, implementation and auditing of management plans.

Josh has worked on projects primarily in Western Australia’s north-west region but has also worked on projects within Asia, Europe, Central America, and North America, as well other states within Australia.”

Short Course Outline

The short course will be organized as follows, which has a similar flow as the Document itself:

  1. Introduction to INAP
  2. Theoretical background on reactive materials and cover systems
  3. Cover system types
  4. The link between cover systems and mine waste landforms
  5. Presentation of INAP’s Conceptual Cover System Design Tool
  6. Case Studies – Different global climate regions with a focus on Australian climates