Geosynthetics in Mining

Geosynthetics in Mining

Areas of Study: Geotechnics

Qualifies for CMS

Qualifies for Certification

This course focuses on the types of geosynthetics used in mine structures, the ways in which geosynthetics may be used to build safe mine structures, and the many details that will make it possible for you to use geosynthetics at your mine to reduce costs and protect the environment.

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  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 9 hours

Course Summary


Mining involves the design, construction, operation, and closure of many geotechnical structures, including: access roads, structural building pads and foundations, ponds, tailings facilities, heap leach pads, and waste rock dumps.

Geosynthetics are polymeric materials used extensively in mine geotechnical structures to enhance the performance of such structures. Geosynthetics are used in conjunction with soils and rocks to increase the overall strength of these materials, to control seepage from mine wastes and through soils and rocks, and to separate soils of different gradation and hence to limit piping and potential failure of soil structures.

This course introduces you to the types of geosynthetics used in mine structures, to the ways in which geosynthetics may be used to build safe mine structures, and to the many details that will make it possible for you to use geosynthetics at your mine to reduce costs and protect the environment.

This course describes many case histories of the successful use of geosynthetics in mining, thereby introducing concepts, ideas, details, and practical applications that you may copy or adapt to the specifics of your mine's needs and facilities.

Course Content

Geosynthetics in Mining consists of 9 viewing sessions of 30–60 minutes each with supporting figures, tables and examples, plus interactive course reviews. Course duration is equivalent to approximately 9 hours of viewing content.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the different types of geosynthetics and their properties and applications.
  • Identify and apply the principles of geosynthetics usage in mine geowaste facilities, including tailings facilities, heap leach pad, and waste rock dumps.
  • Identify the issues associated with usage of geosynthetics in mining facilities, including durability and longevity of geosynthetics under the stresses particular to mine geowaste containment.

Recommended Background

  • A degree or diploma in geotechnical engineering or civil engineering.
  • Experience in design, construction or operation of large waste structures in mining.

Jack Caldwell

Jack Caldwell, P.Eng, has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, an M.Sc. (Eng.) in Geotechnical Engineering and a post-graduate law degree. He has over 35 years engineering experience on mining, civil, geotechnical and site remediation projects. He has worked on numerous projects throughout southern Africa, Europe, Latin America, Canada, and the United States. His project experience includes:

- mines and waste disposal facilities - design, construction supervision and reclamation of tailings impoundments, mine rock dumps, heap leach pads, landfills and radioactive waste disposal units;

- hazardous and radioactive waste site remediation - senior management and technical consultant

- landfills - design, construction, operation and closure with special focus on liners, covers, and soil reinforcement.

In addition, Mr. Caldwell has been the lead specialist for various geotechnical and civil engineering projects in Southern California. Mr. Caldwell has written many engineering reports, proposals, and technical papers. He is the lead author of the book, Principles and Practice of Waste Encapsulation, on the design of waste disposal facilities for radioactive and hazardous wastes.

Colleen Crystal

Ms. Colleen Crystal is a licensed professional geotechnical engineer with over 17 years of experience in managing and completing a wide range of geotechnical investigation, design and construction projects in both the private and public sectors. She is currently Senior Engineer for SLR International Corporation, United States.

Her project experience has included commercial high-rise developments, landfills, transportation, infrastructure, port facilities, public schools, and essential service buildings, above grade petroleum storage tanks, dams and reservoirs, as well as large earthworks projects and mine tailings impoundments, for which she has led site characterization, permitting, geotechnical and earthquake engineering and design and construction support services. She has significant experience in static/seismic slope stability analyses for native and compacted fill slopes, geosynthetic reinforced slopes, and landfill slopes; and dewatering modeling and analyses. Her grading experience includes landfill cover and liner designs, and surface water control structures design.

Ms. Crystal has managed and executed a variety of geotechnical and geologic field explorations geotechnical laboratory characterization and testing programs for mine tailings waste management facilities. She has further provided analyses and reporting for tailings facility and mine infrastructure and civil related earthworks projects.

Tarik Hadj-Hamou

Dr. Tarik Hadj-Hamou is currently Principal, Manager Waste and Geotechnical Services for SLR International Corporation. Dr. Hadj-Hamou received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 1983 and joined Tulane University in New Orleans. There he and his colleague became involved with geosynthetics working on practical research projects with the New Orleans District of U.S. Corps of Engineers (USCOE), which was looking at ways to raise the earthen levees protecting existing or new communities along the Mississippi River. The work related to instrumentation and modeling of the performance of geosynthetics reinforced levees lead to the attribution by the Transportation Research Board of the 1990 K.B. Woods award for the paper "Field Test of a Geotextile Reinforced Levee."

Since then, Dr. Hadj-Hamou has accumulated 25 years of experience at over 50 projects in Europe, Asia, and the Americas involving geosynthetics in engineering projects. Projects have included design; installation monitoring; performance evaluation; and forensic analyses for liner and cover systems, secondary containment, slopes and embankments, transportation projects, hydraulic structures, and other applications. He has developeded, designed, and monitored installation of geogrids, geotextile, geocomposite, geocomposite clay liners, geocells, and flexible geomembranes. He has worked with most types of flexible geomembrane, namely HDPE, LLDPE, PVC, and bituminous geomembranes.

Dr. Hadj-Hamou is author of numerous papers discussing the selection and use of geosynthetics in engineering applications.