Metso says it has started full-scale testing of its VPX™ filter for tailings dewatering in Brazil, with eight tailings tests lined up with companies that process iron ore, copper and gold.
In 2019, Metso launched Tailings Management Solutions (TMS), its response to the global challenge of managing mining tailings efficiently. The company sees the dewatering of waste as the future of mining, allowing the removal of water and its reuse in the plant, itself, or as part of restoration projects. Its VPX filter is part of this TMS platform.
With an operating pressure of up to 25 bar, the VPX can deal with difficult-to-dewater tailings and enable up to 90% water recovery, according to the company.
Metso says a full-scale VPX filter is now in place at its facilities in Sorocaba, Brazil, where the first tests from samples sent by several mining companies from Brazil and Latin America started in March.
“This is not a laboratory test, but filtration in industrial-scale conditions using VPX technology, which has the capacity to process high volumes of ores,” Rodrigo Gouveia, Metso’s Vice President, Tailings Management Systems, said. “Tailings dewatering is technically and economically a viable option for today and the future. Dry stacking is widely acknowledged to be the safest, most sustainable option for tailings storage. We see that there is a strong demand for short- and medium-term technical solutions.”
Fausto Rezende, Metso’s Mining Equipment Sales Director in charge of TMS in Brazil, said there is another potential application in the adoption of tailings management: legacy dams. “We can develop projects for the dredging and concentration of the tailings and, in many cases, it is possible that this operation is more economically viable than virgin ore,” he said.
Metso already has expertise in dewatering solutions and, depending on each mining application and customer needs, carries out engineering to determine the specifications for the most suitable dewatering technology. It can pick from lamella thickeners, hydrocyclones and filters to tailings stackers, through pumping solutions and conveyor belts.