AGRU’s latest video story focuses on a tailings storage facility in northern Nevada. The site utilized a textured geomembrane (AGRU MicroSpike) in a three-phase expansion. View the story above. Additional details and project photos are posted below.

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The mine and surrounding region is characterized by scarce surface water. This heightens the need for sustainable water solutions in mining operations.

The tailings storage facility water-storage pond was built in the late 1980s with a flexible (VLPDE) lining system. While the material provided excellent elongation and weldability, it had limited resistance to UV, which caused rapid breakdown. The VLDPE liner was subsequently removed and replaced with high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The HDPE approach had merit, but the particular type of HDPE geomembrane was not as suited to the site as hoped. Leakage developed in the double liner system.

Nevada Tailings Storage Facility Image
The weather cycle and UV challenges, the site slopes, and general mining operations have all presented issues for the tailings storage facility. The new expansion design uses a textured geomembrane and drainage netting system. The site is leak free with the updates.

The harsh weathering, steep slopes, and overall mining operations had simply proved to be too challenging for the old containment system design. A new approach with a significant drainage solution was sought.

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In 2017, engineers were brought in to remedy issues with the tailings storage facility pond. The group designed a new 625,000 ft.2, double-lined pond using AGRU America 60-mil single-sided HDPE MicroSpike liner. Furthermore, they designed in a 200-mil AGRU Geonet as the separator between liners. This ensured quick flow to the leak detection sump.

The quick removal of any potential leakage gave the facility a more advanced way not only to deal with leaks but to more precisely identify where leaks emerge so they can be sealed more quickly.

The geomembrane’s high durability helped address concerns with the site’s harsh conditions, and the texturing offered consistent friction angle values for slope stability. Thermal fusion welding was used to create an impermeable seal between adjacent sheets. All products were tested at the manufacturer’s GAI-LAP certified lab for quality.

Nevada Tailings Storage Facility Image

Close to 9 million ft.2 of geomembrane has been installed at the site, and to date the project has proved to be leak free.

Learn more about AGRU’s geomembranes, mining industry activity, and other geosynthetic products and applications at