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IGS-NA Highlights Geosynthetics at Mine Tailings Event


Tailings and Mine Waste 2020 went virtual this year and drew a huge crowd to all of the sessions. The IGS North America (IGS-NA) chapter is proud to have been a supporting organization to this annual event. During years when the event is held in-person, it alternates between Keystone, Colorado (USA), Banff, Alberta (Canada), and Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). 

The 2020 Geosynthetics Session was hosted by IGS-NA board members Kate Patterson and John Allen, who also served on the conference organizing committee.  The session involved 190 attendees and featured numerous high-level papers. Anna Norris, who is finishing her PhD at Colorado State University, presented on her investigations into geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) permeability with tailings solutions and pregnant copper and gold solutions. Pascal Saunier, PE shared his research on a new drainage geocomposite for dewatering tailings. Dr. Mike Donovan presented on lighter and longer GCLs for use in mining applications.

While polymers are the backbone of the geosynthetics industry, we also continue to see new and innovative uses of these materials and the incorporation of new polymers. Each of the papers pointed in this direction, and none more so than Dr. Raymond Guang’s presentation on how to transfer the use of polyacrylamide polymers from dewatering tailings and apply it to dewatering of dredge materials.

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On behalf of the moderators, organizing committee, and IGS-NA, we would like to thank all of our authors and speakers for contributing to a very successful Geosynthetics Session and to the overall Tailings and Mine Waste 2020 conference.

Reported by John Allen, President of IGS North America. Learn more about IGS-NA’s activities at