How to move tailings over 4 km in a harsh environment, affordably
Located in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories, the Ekati Diamond Mine was Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. It commenced operation in 1998. BHP Billiton Canada Inc owned and operated Ekati as part of its global portfolio before selling in 2013 to Dominion Diamond Corporation.
Our project with them was to expand tailings storage facilities at EKATI diamond mine to allow their mining operation to continue.
BUSINESS PROBLEM SOLVED
Expand tailings storage facilities at EKATI diamond mine to allow their mining operation to continue.
TECHNICAL PROBLEM SOLVED
In challenging weather environment, design system to move tailings from mine to remote pit over 4km away. Needed to keep fluid velocity above point where tailings would start to separate from slurry.
WHAT WE DID
After fifteen years of operation, the existing tailings storage facilities at the EKATI diamond mine were approaching capacity. To support continued operation of the mine, the TEMEC Engineering Group was retained to study and evaluate alternatives for additional tailings storage, and to provide multi-discipline detail engineering services for the selected path forward.
After the remote Beartooth Pit was selected for additional tailings storage, Temec studied a number of options for the tailings feed piping to the pit. Temec presented numerous recommendations, and developed budgetary cost estimates and business cases for the two most attractive options.
The selected option consisted of approximately 4.2 km of 14” diameter pipe running northeast across the site to the Beartooth Pit, complete with a new valve manifold and controls to divert the tailings to the new destination. Pump upgrades were also required. Flow capacity was carefully reviewed to ensure fluid velocity was kept above the point where tailings will start to separate from the slurry.
After preparation of a final cost estimate for funding approval, detailed engineering for procurement and construction packages was performed in stages to support cost effective construction within the context of the weather windows in the Northwest Territories.
The project was completed on time, and within the approved budget allocation.
PROJECT LIFECYCLE SERVICES USED