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Aug 29, 2019

A new value-creation model for tailings management

Niclas Hällevall
Niclas Hällevall
VP, Metso Beneficiation Solutions
Designing and commissioning a future-proof tailings management system requires a totally new mindset. As a baseline, it should enable the mines to process their tailings in the most sustainable manner possible and as economically as possible. So far, tailings processing has been considered a cost – but what if you could benefit commercially from it? Niclas Hällevall, VP, Beneficiation Solutions, shares the details of Metso’s revolutionary concept with International Mining.

In 2018, less than 5% of all tailings were dewatered in one way or another. This is an alarmingly low figure. Considering the recent dam failures and the increasing global need to use water more responsibly, and the prerequisite for the mines to keep their costs in control, we need a completely new agenda for tailings management.

We have launched a new tailings management concept catering to these needs. It offers miners a sustainable way to handle tailings and a new value-creation model through the easy reprocessing of tailings.

We see dry stacking of tailings as the most promising and sustainable way forward. At the same time, the mining community needs to challenge its current way of thinking and include the reprocessing of tailings as part of the overall solution. Extracting valuable minerals from the tailings and legacy dams is both responsible and a good opportunity to convert waste into value. The remaining dry waste can be used as backfill material in the mines.

As we see it, tailings management is not a matter of finding the most technically suitable equipment or solution; it is about transformation and taking the end-of-mine strategy to a new level.

A full-size VPX Filter pilot plant for flowsheet feasibility testing

To utilize the opportunities offered by the new tailings management concept, we can support the mines in designing and providing the optimal solution for each case with all necessary products for the dewatering, handling and reprocessing of tailings.

The Metso VPXTM Filter is a significant leap in filtration technology and a key piece of equipment in the solution. The new filter has proven to be effective in filtering the toughest materials, while providing high water recovery and reuse. During testing, we have reached a water recovery of up to 90% and achieved a cake moisture content below 7%.

To help verify an individual mine’s business case, we can provide the mine site with a full-scale pilot machine, VPX10, for feasibility testing.

Watch the video above for the full interview on the future of tailings management. Interview was done with International Mining in 2019 before Metso Outotec had started operations.

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