General criteria for selection of tailings deposition method according to site conditions
Large mining operations present in Chile, existing and planned, require deposition systems for large volumes of tailings in sites that are every time harder to find because they must respond to technical, economic, environmental and social requirements. Therefore it is fundamental to have a guide to determine the best technology for tailings deposition according to topographical, meteorological, environmental and social location aspects, minimizing the negative effects on the environment, while keeping the economic viability of the whole mining project.
Notwithstanding the advantages of non-conventional deposition methods are currently appreciated (thickened, filtered, etc.) regarding water recovery and reducing environmental impact, the selection of the optimal method should consider multiple variables in the site, just to mention the main: geometry of the basin, feasible depositional slope in the precipitation and humidity conditions, site distance from the concentrator (distance and difference of elevation), tailings rheology in different concentrations, etc.
The aim of this paper is to propose a set of general criteria for selecting the tailings deposition method based on current design requirements, responding to current environmental standards and economical of the mining project.