Design of the Pierina waste dump

P. Mark Hawley, Xavier Ochoa, Bob Sharon

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Development of Barrick Gold's Pierina gold mine in north-central Peru requires construction of a waste dump for disposal of non-ore grade materials stripped from the open pit to expose the ore. The waste dump site is located near the open pit in a U-shaped valley that is underlain by thin colluvial and morainal soils with locally thick peats and glaciolacustrine deposits. Bedrock underlying the site consists of variably weathered volcanics. The site is subject to moderately high seasonal rainfall and significant seismicity. The geotechnical quality of the waste rock is highly variable, ranging from low-quality, degradable, soil-like materials containing appreciable quantities of silt and clay, to high-quality, hard, durable, blocky waste rock. A hybrid dump design concept was developed that requires in-pit segregation of high-and low-quality waste, and selective placement of materials in the dump to maximize stability and enhance internal and subsurface drainage. The design includes a rock drain beneath the dump along the axis of the valley and a series of connected finger drains. Extensive peripheral diversions and stormwater control measures to inhibit infiltration of precipitation are also included. This paper discusses the unique challenges presented by the site and waste materials, the design methodology and stability analyses, and planned monitoring systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationCIM Bulletin
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • Pore pressure
  • Risk assessment
  • Rock drain
  • Seismicity
  • Waste rock dump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Metals and Alloys


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