Tag Archives: filtered mine tailings

Clean TeQ aims for tailings management leadership with ATA acquisition

Clean TeQ has signed an agreement to acquire ATA® in a deal that, it says, will accelerate its dewatering technology offering as part of targeted expansion into the global mine tailings management industry.

The agreement sees Clean TeQ exercise an option to purchase ATA from US-based Soane Labs LLC. ATA, Clean Teq says, represents a step change to both the economics and environmental sustainability of global mine tailings management by:

  • Delivering rapid separation of water and solids from both in-process and in situ tailings;
  • Producing stackable dry tailings without the high capital and operating cost of mechanical compression commonly used in the market; and
  • Recycling process water for reuse in operations, including the potential to recover dissolved metals otherwise lost to waste.

Economically efficient and environmentally sound tailings rehabilitation is a recognised priority for the mining industry, as companies increasingly emphasise sustainable metal production, reducing legacy issues and improving social licence to operate, Clean Teq says.

Peter Voigt, CEO of Clean TeQ Water Limited, said: “We have been working with the ATA technology for over 12 months and are satisfied that it has the potential to change the way mine tailings are processed for mine rehabilitation. ATA complements Clean TeQ’s market-leading metal extraction technologies and enables the company’s strategy to become a leader in the global mine tailings management industry in the rapidly growing global mine tailings management industry.”

The ATA technology was developed to offer a secure and low-cost mine tailings treatment process by rapidly separating water and solids to produce stackable dry tailings and recycled water. The technology uses smart chemistry to rapidly agglomerate the solids in ore slurries. The solids dewater under their own gravity, removing the need for high capital and operating cost pressured filtration used in the industry today. The resulting materials can be compressed and stacked, with the extracted water being returned to recycle (or sent for recovery of dissolved metals), dramatically reducing water usage. In underground mining operations the compact material may also be used for backfilling, with or without cement, according to Clean Teq.

Clean TeQ said: “Mine waste dewatering presents an enormous market opportunity for Clean TeQ. Tailings management is a significant environmental and safety challenge for the industry, particularly for mines in tropical climates where natural evaporation rates are low, or where seismic activity increases geotechnical risks. As environmental bonding requirements increase in response to higher perceived risk in managing tailings storage facilities, ATA’s unique rapid and low-cost dewatering offering will enhance the mining industry’s environment credentials while lowering operating and mine site rehabilitation costs.”

On August 9, 2022, Clean TeQ announced the signing of the exclusive global technology licence agreement with Soane Labs for the ATA technology. This provided Clean TeQ with an exclusive global licence to exploit the ATA technology, with an option to purchase the technology, at Clean TeQ Water’s discretion and at a pre-agreed value, within 18 months of signing. In accordance with the agreement, the company has decided to exercise the option to purchase the ATA technology and entered into a purchase agreement on September 20, 2023, through a 100% scrip issue for a total consideration of A$3 million ($1.9 million).

ATA will be deployed in conjunction with the company’s proprietary metal extraction technologies (Clean-iX®) as part of a strategy to provide the mining industry with a holistic mine tailings rehabilitation solution that, the company says, delivers:

  • Best-in-class tailings management, via future partnerships with both potential customers and experienced tailings management teams;
  • Market leading technologies that provide a step change in the economic and environmental sustainability of mine tailings management; and
  • Dry stacked and minimal footprint tailings solutions for current and legacy wet tailings sites, including the ability for underground backfill.

Clean TeQ says it is planning pilot-scale testing at several sites in the coming months leading to full scale commercial implementation.

Test work proving up FLSmidth’s ‘game-changing’ Ecotails solution

Testing by one of the world’s leading gold producers has confirmed FLSmidth’s Ecotails™ solution will be a game-changer for the mining sector, according to one of the company’s regional dewatering product line managers.

The solution, which combines filtered mine tailings with waste to form a GeoWaste, lowers water usage, rehabilitation costs and tailings footprints, according to the company.

Back in 2017, FLSmidth and Goldcorp signed an agreement to develop EcoTails, with the solution being studied for full-scale testing at Peñasquito, an operation with an average daily throughput of 130,000 t/d.

FLSmidth Regional Product Line Manager (Dewatering), Leonard Neluvhola, said the Ecotails solution is nearing the end of a lengthy testing process with the company, now called Newmont Goldcorp following a recent transaction.

“The success of its application to date confirms that Ecotails will be a game-changer for the mining sector,” Neluvhola said. “Not only can mines improve their environmental performance by applying this system, they will also see bottom line benefits too.”

He said the Ecotails solution involves dewatering and filtering tailings to a point where moisture content is just 10% to 25%.

“Up to 90% of the water in tailings can therefore be reused in the plant,” he said. “This is a vast improvement on pumping highly diluted slurry to a conventional tailings dam, where the water is lost to evaporation.”

The drier tailings are then mixed with the mine’s waste rock, after it has been sized and screened to be transportable by conveyor. “The resulting GeoWaste can be placed by a stacking system, as it is much more stable than wet tailings and can be stacked higher on a smaller footprint,” FLSmidth said. “This helps to address the serious concern mines have about the large footprints consumed by their tailings dams and waste rock dumps.”

In addition to its greater stability, GeoWaste is more conducive to vegetation growth, according to the company. “It is an ideal medium for concurrent environmental rehabilitation,” FLSmidth said. “The concurrent approach is becoming more popular, as it can mitigate the costs and risks of mine closure. Wet tailings can also present a greater danger of land contamination through leaching.”

Neluvhola said: “With our Ecotails experience and complete system offering, FLSmidth can provide a complete materials handling solution.” This includes crushers, sizers and screens, KREBS® pumps, thickeners and filters, conveyor and stacking systems, conducting tests and studies, system engineering and automation systems.

Neluvhola highlighted that FLSmidth in South Africa collaborates with customers on in-depth test work to ensure the application of Ecotails on their mines is fit for purpose.

“We can conduct testing at laboratory scale, and then advance to pilot stage when a mini-plant can be operated on site,” he said. “This allows us to test the technology using the customer’s own mined material in the thickening, filtering, conveying and blending phases to inform our technical designs.”