Savage River Mine Tailings Storages

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GHD’s longstanding work with the Savage River Mine in Tasmania is delivering a range of operational and environmental outcomes.

The Savage River Mine is challenging site featuring steep topography, in the wet west coast of Tasmania climate with 2.5 m annual average rain falling over 200 days/year. Tailings and some waste rock types are Potentially Acid Forming (PAF) which requires careful design and construction to mitigate against generation of Acid and Metalliferous Drainage (AMD). This is in addition to the site managing existing legacy AMD from past operators, which is now the responsibility of the Tasmanian Government in the form of key stakeholder – the Savage River Rehabilitation Committee (SRRP).

Since 1984, GHD has provided investigations, design, construction and closure phase services for the current operational Main Creek Tailings Dam (MCTD). A key benefit of our work includes extending the life of the MCTD which required investigation and modelling to confirm the feasibility of upstream construction. This has enabled the MCTD to be safely and economically raised to a total height approaching 90 m.

More recently, our team has completed design and construction phase services for the new 140 m high South Deposit Tailings Storage Facility (SDTSF) downstream of the MCTD. The SDTSF uses mine waste from the nearby South Deposit Pit for economic construction. Our design features an innovative flow-through underdrain and a permeable dam face opposed to a traditional clay core embankment. The downstream shell of the SDTSF is backed by a large waste rock dump making the facility conservatively stable. GHD has also designed an integrated AMD transfer system to pass legacy AMD from the old tailings dam to the SDTSF allowing the AMD to be neutralised within the SDTSF.

GHD has a close working relationship with the mine, having undertaken various other projects including Waste Rock Dump design and capping, dam safety training, dam surveillance, AMD remediation, closure design and remediation trials, haul road river crossings and geotechnical engineering projects.



With you, our hydrogeologists work alongside our engineers, environmental consultants, planners, surveyors and GIS consultants to arrive at integrated solutions.

GHD has global hydrogeological experience in groundwater resource assessment, aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), mine dewatering, aquifer depressurisation, groundwater management and environmental assessment, salinity, acid sulfate soils (ASS) and acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD).

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Tailings (Mines & Residue)


Over the past 30 years, we’ve earned local and international recognition for cost-effective, practical, and innovative methods used in tailings design and management.

GHD is represented on national and international technical committees including Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) and close links with organisations such as the Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG).

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