Anglo American deploys MudMaster at the Los Bronces copper mine Las Tortolas tailings facility

Another technology addition forming part of its FutureSmartTM Mining innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, Anglo American recently began using MudMaster® equipment at its Las Tortolas tailings dam in Chile, located at the Las Tortolas mineral processing operation which is connected to the Los Bronces copper mine by a 56 km ore slurry pipeline. Using the MudMaster will allow acceleration of the compaction process of tailings, improving the efficiency of water management. It is the first equpiment of its type to be deployed in the country, and is part of a year long pilot project that will cover an initial test area of ​​300 ha in the tailings dam that currently has an overall surface area of ​​1,000 ha.

“In mining operations, the water used in the process is finally contained in the tailings or is lost through evaporation and thanks to this equipment we will be able to improve the efficiency in water management, increasing the recirculation indicators and increasing the compaction of the tailings in less time,” Rodrigo Subiabre, Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Anglo American, told IM. “This project joins other initiatives, where we seek to reimagine mining to make it safer, more precise and more sustainable, significantly and progressively reducing our environmental footprint,” he added.

Phibion manufactures the MudMaster in Brisbane, Australia it says “to the highest safety and engineering standards.” Phibion states: “Each machine undergoes an exhaustive quality review and commissioning process to ensure we deliver on our promises. Machines are transported on dedicated freight cradles as a single unit. On delivery, no further assembly is required and the MudMaster is ready to work.” The MudMaster is part of what Phibion calls Accelerated Mechanical Consolidation (AMC), a systematic and low energy tailings management approach that can reduce tailings volumes and deliver enhanced water recovery with the associated benefits of increased tailings density and strength. Potential water recovery rates of 30% have been defined for the project in Chile which will form a major part of the initial testing.

The project is being carried out in partnership with CNP – Centro Nacional de Pilotaje de Tecnologías para la Minería, which provides specialised technical services in piloting and industrial validation of technologies. It is a public-private corporation, supported by CORFO with founding partners the University of Chile, the Federico Santa María University; the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile; the University of Antofagasta, and Minnovex, an association of mining supplier companies.