Oil sands tailings exhibit poor consolidation and settling behavior when conventional deposition techniques are used; therefore tailings management is a great challenge in the oil sands mining industry. The objectives of this research were to gain an in-depth understanding of the dewatering behavior of polymer-amended mature fine tailings (MFT) deposits, and to study the bearing capacity of these tailings. Polymer-amendment is one of many technologies being investigated in the oil sands industry.
Polymer-amended MFT that imitates field samples was generated and both, thin (0.30m) and thick (0.50m) multi-layer deposition dry box tests were performed. The dry box testing to studied how dewatering behaviors progress as layers are dried and more layers are added, and how cracking influences the evaporation rates. Shear strength and plate load tests were performed to determine undrained shear strength; and bearing capacity respectively between the additions of each new layer for each dry box test.