Phibion reveals world-first autonomous MudMaster® for tailings management

Australia’s Phibion Pty Ltd has launched the first of its fully autonomous MudMaster® mine tailings management systems capable of delivering around-the-clock operations in the most challenging waste environments.

The solutions provider is delivering safer tailings dam management and faster mine rehabilitation through its proprietary Accelerated Mechanical Consolidation (AMC) management and MudMaster® amphibious technology in multiple operations in Australia, Jamaica, Chile and Brazil.

When fully deployed the autonomous MudMaster® removes human operators from the tailings dam while delivering greater efficiency and savings for mine operators, as well as improved safety and environmental outcomes for communities.

Phibion says the autonomous MudMaster® can halve in-situ tailings volume, recover entrained tailings water for recycling while increasing the geotechnical strength and safety of a tailings storage facility. Phibion’s Chief Executive Officer, Jacques Janse, said: “Queensland’s resource sector experience and world-leading advanced manufacturing capabilities made it the natural home of this technology and a launchpad for export opportunities.”

He added: “Our commitment to innovation and safety, along with the support of leading researchers and the Queensland Government’s Invested in Queensland program, have enabled Phibion to take this technology to the world. We are making tailings dams safer, smaller and more sustainable which means we can reduce the area of disturbance for a mining operation while making tailings storage facilities safer for both people and the planet. Resource companies can now deliver on their ESG ambitions and return land back to communities faster and better than ever before.”

Tailings are part of virtually all mining and refining operations. If not managed correctly, they can become a high safety risk that creates legacy issues for the local community and the environment. The MudMaster® technology solution works to make tailings dams safer and smaller by rapidly dewatering and consolidating the material to create strength and free up volume for future deposition at a fraction of the cost of traditional capital-intensive alternative systems.

The new autonomous MudMaster® Phibion says will deliver even greater efficiencies. The autonomous machine can operate independently based on a remotely assigned operational plan, carried out in the most effective and efficient way before returning to a designated set-down area. This improves performance and delivers improved fuel efficiency.

“We see this as a game-changer for mining tailings management and land rehabilitation projects around the globe,” Janse said. The autonomous MudMaster will be available as a commercial product from July 1, 2023.