Metso says Salares Norte, a Chile greenfield project owned by Gold Fields, has ordered three of its Vertical Plate Pressure Filters with all the ancillary equipment for dry tailings processing.
The order has been booked in Metso’s June quarter orders received, with the filters expected to be commissioned in October 2022.
Francois Swanepoel, Technical Manager at Salares Norte, said Gold Fields’ vision is to be the global leader in sustainable gold mining.
“The Salares Norte greenfield project is located 4,500 m above sea level in the Andean Mountains, where water is scarce and needs to be used wisely,” he said.
“To minimise the use of water and improve the physical and chemical stability of our tailings, we have decided to adopt filtered tailings for the project. Salares Norte will be a benchmark plant for dry tailings processing.”
Metso said Salares Norte was an exciting project for the company to work on as it considers dry tailings as the “most socially responsible and economically viable solution for tailings management”.
Patricio Mujica Dominguez, Senior Manager, Mining Equipment at Metso, said: “Besides the front-running tailings management solution, Salares Norte has challenged its partners to come up with other innovative solutions. The location of the plant at a height of almost 5 km above the sea level comes with its own unique challenges.
“For example, the design and transportation of the equipment, as well as commissioning, needs to be done with special care. To save manpower at such a high altitude, Metso will semi-assemble the filters in its service centres and deliver them in six specially designed easy-to-assemble modules to the site.”
A 2019 feasibility study on Salares Norte envisages an open-pit mining operation with an initial mine life of 11.5 years, producing 450,000 oz/y of gold-equivalent for the first seven years.