Client name: Savannah Nickel Mines

Duration: 2001/2002 - ongoing

Location: Kimberley Region, Western Australia, Australia

Coffey designed a cost effective tailings storage facility that would also meet stringent environmental approval conditions.  

Ensuring the expansion of a tailings storage facility conforms to stringent environmental regulations

Tailings generated from the processing plant are disposed of in two ways. Either to a valley fill facility, or pumped underground as cement stabilised paste for use as mine backfill. 

The expansion of the tailings storage facility (TSF) to around 1 million m3 was identified after additional mineral resources were discovered – extending the operation’s Life of Mine. 

Additionally, the project is located in an environmentally sensitive area attracting high regulatory and stakeholder interest in the outcomes of the study.

Geotechnical study and upstream construction techniques 

Our team consulted on tailings management and other geotechnical aspects for the project. Additional specialists engaged by the client included specialist environmental and closure consultants. 

Using upstream construction techniques and constructing additional saddle embankments on the eastern and western sides of the facility, we were able to design the TSF raise, including a decant, by a nominal 6m.

As part of improving mine water management, two lined water storage facilities, and a drainage diversion were also constructed.

Environmental approvals granted 

As a result of the study, the project received the required environmental approvals allowing Savannah Nickel to continue to operate, and undertake their TSF expansion activities.

“Upstream raising of the Savannah Valley Fill TSF required close geotechnical monitoring, rapid evaluation and response to the many design changes required during design and construction.

Coffey delivered a professional and complete geotechnical service: from initial design, regulatory engagement, tender evaluation, construction monitoring, geotechnical field testing and statutory report preparation.

The Savannah team is proud to have delivered the TSF Stage 3 & 4 lifts on time and on budget, and have no doubt whatsoever that Coffey made a significant contribution to this outcome”. 

Jerehmy Bygrave
Process Manager
Savannah Nickel Pty Ltd