Acid Rock Drainage at Abandoned Mine Site

Ruttan Mine acid rock drainageThe abandoned mine site reclamation began in 2013 to prevent further acid rock drainage contamination.

The Ruttan Mine site is a massive copper and zinc sulphide deposit located approximately 750km northwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba and 23km east of Leaf Rapids, a village built specifically to service the mine. The mine operated from 1973 through 2002 with historic production of copper and zinc combined reported to be approximately 55 million tones.

The abandoned mine is identified as a high hazard site with a very large open acid rock drainage pit. High production yields high waste and estimates at mine closure predicted that water treatment would not be required until 2037. But in 2007, a routine site visit identified the necessity of addressing the effluent discharge at the site. It was observed that the tailing pond which contained the contaminated discharge from the mine was filling up much faster than anticipated and overflow was going to occur much sooner than predicted. The consultant recommended that remediation commence by 2013.

Project Scope

In July 2013 the Manitoba Government began the reclamation of the Ruttan Mine site. Remediation plans included a water treatment facility and, to prevent leaching into the nearby Ruttan Lake, a low-permeability containment wall.

Wolf Remediation Ltd supplied and installed the 1000m containment wall, specifically designed for acid rock drainage contamination. The wall acts as a barrier between the tailing pond and the Ruttan Lake, placed to control any further leaching of sulphuric acids into the Ruttan Lake. The wall also acts as a curb to direct waters to a treatment plant.

A vinyl sheet piling was chosen over steel sheet because it is less expensive and can withstand the high acid levels from the copper sulphides. A total of 1320 sheets, 20 to 30 feet long were driven. Hydrophilic sealants applied to the sheets assured a low permeability of 10-10.

Sheet Piling Solution

There were two very strong reasons why vinyl sheet piling was chosen for this job in 2013:
• The vinyl sheet could withstand the side pressures form the large berm of the tailing pond; a slurry wall could not
• The vinyl sheet had a life span many times greater than that of steel. Along with the fact that the vinyl sheet could be done in an in-situ manner, the costs to supply and install also had financial benefits

The success of this project was dependent on the integrity and expertise Wolf Remediation Ltd brings.  Wolf Remediation Ltd makes a commitment to our clients to provide the best product and service available at the time, to meet the requirements of the job.

Wolf Remediation Ltd composite sheet pile solutions offer an alternative to conventional materials and have a wide range of uses. With a high strength to low weight ratio, composite sheet piling affords easier handling, more economical shipping, lower maintenance on installation, and a longer life-span. An environmentally sensitive solution with no compromise.