The Bureau of Mines studied the compaction characteristics of metal and nonmetal tailings. Densities of the tailings and zone of compaction influence, compactive effort, and cost of equipment are related to changes in the factor of safety for specific grain-sized tailings and embankment configurations. Field testing was accomplished in two distinct phases. The first phase investigated the effectiveness of using a nuclear gauge on metal and nonmetal tailings to produce rapid, instantaneous measurements of moisture content, wet density, and dry density. The results of the nuclear gauge testing are presented in chapter 1. Chapter 2 presents a comparison of the compactive effectiveness of three different pieces of construction equipment on a coarse-grained metal tailings pond. The three pieces of equipment chosen for study were a d8h track- mounted dozer, a d500 rubber-tired dozer, and a sp848 vibratory smooth-drum compactor.