Finnish mine waste disposal areas

Minna Leppänen, J. Laasonen, Tero Välisalo

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    In 2013, a total of forty-six mines and quarries were operating in Finland, and several new mining projects were in progress. Both mining and environmental legislation and dam safety regulations have been developed and renewed during recent years, and the mining and permitting authorities have changed. Due to problems at the Talvivaara Mine in 2013, the Finnish government decided to implement a voluntary stress test for Finnish mines. The method was developed based on the stress test designed for nuclear power plants by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). Altogether twenty-one mines or concentrating plants were chosen to be tested, and twenty responded. In the stress test questionnaire there were fifteen questions on seven risk scenarios that the nominated expert group assessed to be both potential and significant. There are sixty-seven tailings dams in Finland. Nine of them have been classified as Class 1 ("consequence class"), that is, dams which could cause loss of life in the event of dam failure. The study showed that the hydrological design of tailings dams has to be reconsidered. One finding of the stress test was that the dam safety legislation and the guidelines do not define criteria for the closure of tailings dams. Based on the results, mining companies are monitoring their dams quite well and are aware of dam safety risks, probably thanks to the detailed dam safety legislation. However, the base of the waste areas is typically ignored. Old mining waste areas are mainly built on natural soil layer without any liners. New mining waste areas require an environmental permit, which contains requirements for the bottom liners as well.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventGeosynthetics Mining Solutions 2014 - Vancouver, Canada
    Duration: 9 Sep 201411 Sep 2014

    Conference

    ConferenceGeosynthetics Mining Solutions 2014
    CountryCanada
    CityVancouver
    Period9/09/1411/09/14

    Keywords

    • mining
    • mine waste
    • disposal areas
    • stress testing

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  • Cite this

    Leppänen, M., Laasonen, J., & Välisalo, T. (2014). Finnish mine waste disposal areas. Paper presented at Geosynthetics Mining Solutions 2014, Vancouver, Canada.