Shrinkage and swelling properties of flocculated mature fine tailings

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In the atmospheric fines drying technique, mature fine tailings (MFT) are treated with polymers and deposited in thin layers on a sloped surface for sub-aerial drying. During the whole drying period, the tailings deposits can experience rewetting during periods of rainy weather or as result of the the placement of new layers. This paper addresses the shrinkage and swelling behavior of flocculated MFT (FMFT) under drying and rewetting cycles. The shrinkage and swelling paths of tailing samples were assessed by laboratory experiments. The results showed that the shrinkage-swelling process in a FMFT sample is reversible once the initial drying did not extend below the shrinkage limit of the soil or the soil reached an equilibrium stage which occurred after at least four shrinkswell cycles. The effects of the flocculation procedure on the shrinkage behavior were investigated.