Weir is a mining technology company. Our technologies help customers in mining and similar industries operate with the highest productivity and lowest environmental impact. Customers rely on our solutions and our service to keep their mission-critical operations running efficiently and drive their sustainability footprint down.

Erik Vlot
Global Tailings Process Manager
Egtenrayseweg 9, 5928 PH Venlo, The Netherlands

Navigating the future of tailings management at Weir Technology Hubs

Weir is rethinking the basic assumptions the mining industry has about tailings; it’s committed to reducing the risk and the environmental impact of tailings’ operations at the lowest total cost of ownership.

To this end, Weir is researching and developing innovative technologies and processes in a way that transforms the current value proposition and ensures more sustainable tailings operations.

Weir carries out extensive testing and analysis to identify ways to optimise tailings processing methods, reduce the amount of tailings generated and ensure it’s a more manageable product. Weir’s focus on research and development underscores its dedication to driving positive change in the mining industry’s approach to tailings management.

Rethink, Reduce and Repurpose

Weir Technology Hubs play a vital role enabling Weir to partner with miners to help them rethink, reduce and repurpose their tailings. They are centres of excellence, where various technologies and solutions for tailings management can be developed, trialled and assessed.

Providing proof of concept for tailings solutions ensures that any recommendations made by Weir are substantiated with practical demonstrations that can be viably scaled up and remain effective.

Weir also carries out sample testing, which includes a detailed evaluation of the pros and cons of proposed solutions, with a focus on the practical applicability in real-world scenarios.

These capabilities allow Weir to partner with miners to share its technical expertise, allowing them to make decisions about their tailings management solutions based on solid evidence and, as a result, ensuring a higher chance of successful implementation.

Technology and flowsheet development

Weir Technology Hubs carry out slurry test work to determine the most beneficial overall approach. This means analysing specific components in the circuit and, from there, developing and validating flowsheet-driven bespoke solutions.

At the facility in Melbourne, Australia, there is a particular focus on dewatering applications; it also has a pipe loop test facility that provides design inputs to pipeline designers in order to de-risk their designs.

Additionally, Weir has the ability to test a complete cyclone setup, facilitating the thorough examination of Terraflowing™ flowsheets, covering each stage from thickening and cycloning to centrifuging, mixing, pumping, as well as deposition tests and equipment sizing.

Through active development and testing of flowsheets, Weir is able to pinpoint inefficiencies and identify areas for improvement. Weir Technology Hubs are key innovation centres for the mining industry and offer an invaluable resource where ideas and concepts rapidly evolve and mature and have proven to create meaningful changes that will help make mining more sustainable.

Pipe loop test area at the Weir Technical Hub in Melbourne, Australia

Unrivalled expertise

Process efficiency is a core focus for Weir. Its engineers have expertise in site-specific design, developing bespoke pipeline transport, dewatering and separation systems based on operational requirements.

Different strategies exist for managing specific tailings streams; Weir works closely with miners to understand their specific challenges and, from there, works to identify the most beneficial solution.

The primary objective is often to de-risk operations and minimise uncertainties. This process typically involves creating a clear understanding of achievable baselines and determining specific actions, such as utilising PD pumps or centrifugal pumps depending on the dewatering performance of the thickener. Weir then weighs up the trade-offs – including operational fluctuations – to establish a risk profile and assess both the capital and operational costs.

At the same time, if productivity targets aren’t being met, alternative operational approaches can be explored. This might include, for example, assessing the integration of new technologies to enhance efficiency. This phase primarily generates input data for further in-depth studies.

In essence, Weir’s testing methodology is two-fold: optimising existing processes by de-risking operations and exploring innovations to boost productivity. Ultimately, both these approaches facilitate informed decision making in tailings management.

High-shear mixer at the Weir Technical Hub in Melbourne, Australia


Weir engineers actively engage in industry networks, maintain strong connections and collaborate with academia. This approach is vital to ensure they stay abreast of the latest innovations and technological developments. As an OEM, Weir is often at the forefront of the developments, which then inform many trends within the industry.

One example of this is the Terraflowing process, a proprietary solution developed at the Weir Technology Hub in Melbourne, which produces an engineered tailings product in which the properties are tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF). This involves customising the water content to allow for pumping what are often significant distances, while also employing decision trees to determine optimal flow sheets, such as utilising cyclones for hypermobility zones.

As an industry partner, Weir harnesses advanced technologies to provide customers with predictive insights into pipeline operation, enabling early detection of anomalies and optimising equipment efficiency. This approach ensures optimal performance and minimises downtime.