Since the end of the twentieth century, the increase in mining production in Chile has led to an increase in the generation of waste, at all stages of the production cycle. In this context, the concentrate production process, mainly of copper, has resulted in an increasing increase in the amount of tailings generated, as well as in its deposits, which have grown in height and capacity.
One of the most important aspects to consider in tailings deposits is related to wind speed and direction, which generate emissions of particulate material to populated areas, agricultural production or recreational areas, causing effects on people and the environment. This action is considered an effect associated with chemical instability, although it can also be related to physical imbalance in structures.
Recently, the book “Generation of sustainable urban spaces in areas polluted by mining tailings”, which was sponsored by Geotecnia Ambiental, has been published. This publication arises from research results led by the Geotechnical Group of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso (PUCV) and which were compiled and enhanced by its author, Dr. Pamela Valenzuela Toro. In the field of environmental geotechnics, Valenzuela has studied wind erosion in waste deposits, contributing to the development of procedures to quantify the effect of wind and technology for the control and monitoring of particulate matter emissions.
This work also collects his academic results after preparing his doctoral thesis at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Thus, Juan Palma, current academic of the PUCV, indicates that “This work provides interesting validated technical background, on tailings deposits, abandoned mining operations and environmental liabilities generated by the mining tailings in Chile.”
GA, always betting on the contribution generated by academic research decided to support the publication of this text. Therefore, Raúl Espinace, as former director of the aforementioned Geotechnics Group of the PUCV and Founding Partner of Geotecnia Ambiental mentions that “This book includes a series of public and private initiatives, along with valuable strategic alliances developed for many years, which it has led both institutions to be considered among the main national referents on tailings ”.
By: Catherine Betancourt / Photography: Courtesy