Event archive

Event Organiser: ICE

Soft soils and mine tailings: long lost cousins?, Glasgow

  • Lecture
  • Glasgow
  • 11 February 2020
  • 18:15 - 19:30
Soft soils and mine tailings: long lost cousins?, Glasgow

About this event

Soft soil engineering engages many facets of geotechnical engineering: consolidation and creep, stabilization, pre-loading by various methods. Many aspects of soft soil engineering are applied to the management of mine tailings: the residual material from mining of rock or soil, comprising clay to sand size particles, which are produced on a vast scale in modern mining operations. Many mines produce tailings of over 200,000 tonnes per day and operate for decades, generating impoundments spanning several square kilometres in footprint, with many dam heights in excess of 200 m. Geotechnical engineers are generally responsible for tailings dams, and geotechnical techniques are applied to accelerate dewatering and stabilize the tailings. Fields of geotechnical engineering applied include large strain consolidation, desiccation, stability analysis, seepage analysis, and dam-breach simulation.

There are many similarities between tailings and soft soils, and as such, there has been considerable knowledge transfer from soft soil behaviour to tailings. However, there is also opportunity for knowledge about tailings to impact soft soil geotechnics.

Drawing on 20 years on exposure to different cases of tailings management and some recent collaborations in sediment management, the presenter discusses some learnings from tailings behaviour that can be applied to more general geotechnical practice concerning soft soils.

Registration from 5.30pm for a 6.15pm start. Tea/coffee and biscuits available.

Further information

Please contact [email protected]

For those joining online, you can join the event up to 15 minutes before the start time of 6.15pm at https://ice-org.webex.com/ice-org/onstage/g.php?MTID=e0c0b3676314f31f1c14cabbf5237fc02

If prompted for a password, please enter scotevent


Dr Paul Simms

Paul is a Professor at Carleton University. Paul research is largely driven by interest in multiple aspects of mine waste management, and he has published in major journals on consolidation, desiccation, rheology, shear strength, and geochemistry, with application to geotechnical and geo-environmental aspects of mine tailings behaviour.

Paul currently leads a €2 million project on long-term consolidation and eventual reclamation of soft clayey tailings, which deals with aspects of soft soil behaviour such as creep and ageing, desiccation, and reliable strength to support reclaimed landforms.

Event venue

Glasgow Caledonian University
Hamish Wood Building w110
Cowcaddens Road
Glasgow G4 0BA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Lynn Dow

e: [email protected]