Geochemical and hydrological study of mine tailings & capping design strategy for proposed tailing facility system closure

Mine tailings can be seen as an alluvial deposit with its initial physical properties dictated by the mode of deposition while its geochemical properties are controlled by the mineralogy of the tailings. The deposited tailings undergo both physical and chemical alterations, which changes the initial physical and chemical properties as the tailings ages. The interactions of the physical and geochemical process as the tailings ages influences the rate at which pollutants from the tailings are either released into the environment or stored in the tailings storage facility.

Tailings can therefore be viewed as parent material undergoing the same soil forming processes similar to natural bedrocks. The interactions of the physical and geochemical process affects each other inducing either positive or negative feedback effects. In order to better improve our understanding of the ageing tailings as the materials evolves numerical modellings that couples all these interactions and also accounts for the feedbacks process will be essential for the tailings pedogenic study.

Raphael’s PhD research seeks to study the interactions of the hydrological and geochemical processes in ageing tailings and also assess the effects of feedbacks in modelling tailings ageing process using HYDRUS and PHREEEQC modelling tool. This will provide an important information about the possible parameters that could be targeted for soil restoration programs.

Raphael obtained his Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, taking up project on acid mine drainage from an open pit mine in Ghana. Raphael subsequently worked as a research assistant with the Geological engineering department. Raphael then obtained a full scholarship and furthered his studies in HoHai University for his Masters majoring in Geotechnical Engineering.

Key Publications

Abraham C. F Chiu, Raphael Akesseh, Gifty Amokwaw (2018),Laboratory Assessment of Impact of Copper and 1 Lead on Solidified/Stabilized Material, KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering (Accepted)


Australian Government Research Training Program


Dr Mansour Edraki & Associate Professor Thomas Baumgartl