Tailings Demonstration Plants; Aiming for thickened tailings operation.

Author(s) J. Covacevich and J. Riquelme
Tailings2013, 28 - 30 August 2013, Santiago, Chile


Nowadays Chilean biggest mining companies still operating with conventional tailings are increasingly looking forward to the transfer of the deposition technology from conventional to thickened tailings. In Chile, rising energy costs coupled with the difficulty of the topography and location of the operations in the high Andes turns any optimization in the make-up water in great benefits for the project.

Although the desire to change the technology does exist, collecting data to support these changes has proven to be a major challenge for laboratory and pilot plant campaigns due to the lack of representativeness of the results and the number of parameters that must be controlled in the process.

Due to these drawbacks and taking as its premise that we talk about large mining operations whose benefits exceed the costs of a long study on a large scale, the idea of implementing tailings Demonstration Plants at an industrial scale enlarge their enormous potential in order to evaluate each one of the parameters involved in design and management of the operation taking advantage of the current production of the same tailings that will be treated within the change of technology.

This paper provides a look at the requirements that has the tailings management technology transfer from conventional to thickened tailings of a large mining operation and the key role played by the Demonstration Plant in estimating both benefits and parameters involved in the design and execution of this transfer.