Tailings Dam Capping Design and Trial

As this coal washing plant neared the end of its operations, we found a capping solution that reduced its closure costs.


  • New South Wales, Australia

Project Status

  • Completed 2015

The Macquarie Coal Preparation Plant prepared coal from the West Wallsend Colliery in the Newcastle coal fields. Before coal washing stopped at the plant, the company needed to cap its tailings storage facility while it also continued to operate.


The challenge was how to progressively cap a facility that was still receiving tailing deposits.


Informing the Decision-Making Process

We carried out a geotechnical investigation, analysis and created a capping design for the tailings dam. To test the design, we developed a trial capping methodology. After the first stage of the trial, the company had confidence in the progressive capping method.


Cost-Effective Solution

We had developed a tailings storage solution that allowed for ongoing simultaneous deposition and capping. The plant progressively deployed the capping during the remaining life of the facility. This ultimately reduced closure costs.


The West Wallsend Colliery and the Macquarie Coal Preparation Plant closed in 2016 and the site is being rehabilitated.