Modeling of Wind Erosion of the Aitik Tailings Dam Using SWEEP Model


Waste impoundments are usually not protected by any growing crops, soil roughness, or wind barriers, and dust due to wind erosion of the surface waste material can be a major environmental problem. The tailings dam in Aitik is highly susceptible to wind erosion when it is dry and windy. Strong dust storms may occur during dry seasons. These events are short-lived but may transport a huge amount of particulate matter and adversely impact air quality in downwind areas. This study estimated material loss from the Aitik tailings dam using SWEEP model. The simulated total material loss, saltation and creep loss, suspension loss and PM10 loss were 4.4941 kg/m2, 0.042 kg/m2, 4.4559 kg/m2, 0.264057 kg/m2 respectively. To control the dust generation, wind breaks could be suggested to be installed at 800 m downwind the west side edge of the tailings dam to reduce the saltation and creep and it would in turn reduce suspended emission. The measured total suspended material for five days by exposure profiling method was 0.475 kg/m2, which had a big difference with a simulate value of 4.4559 kg/m2. Many reasons contributed to the disagreement of simulated value and measured value in this study. In order to use the model for mining industry, more tests are needed to validate the modeling result, and calibration methods could be useful in adjusting the internal coefficients and empirical equations.

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Jia, Q. , Al-Ansari, N. and Knutsson, S. (2014) Modeling of Wind Erosion of the Aitik Tailings Dam Using SWEEP Model. Engineering, 6, 355-364. doi: 10.4236/eng.2014.67038.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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