Tag Archives: mine tailings

‘World-first’ public database of mine tailings dams launched

Environmental organisation GRID-Arendal, with support from the UN Environment Program (UNEP), says it has launched the world’s first publicly accessible global database of mine tailings storage facilities.

The database, the Global Tailings Portal, was built by Norway-based GRID-Arendal as part of the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish National Pension Funds’ Council on Ethics, with support from the UNEP. The initiative is backed by funds with more than US$13 trillion under management, according to GRID-Arendal.

Professor Elaine Baker from the School of Geosciences is Director of the GRID-Arendal office at the University of Sydney. She said: “This portal could save lives. Tailing dams are getting bigger and bigger. Mining companies have found most of the highest-grade ores and are now mining lower-grade ones, which create more waste. With this information, the entire industry can work towards reducing dam failures in the future.”

The release of the Global Tailings Portal coincides with the one-year anniversary of the tailings dam collapse in Brumadinho, Brazil (pictured above – CREDIT:IDF/Flickr), which reportedly killed 270 people. After that event, a group of institutional investors led by the Church of England Pensions Board asked 726 of the world’s largest mining companies to disclose details about their tailings dams. Many of the companies complied, and the information they released has been incorporated into the database, GRID-Arendal said.

The database will allow users to view detailed information on more than 1,900 tailings dams, categorised by location, company, dam type, height, volume and risk, among other factors.

Kristina Thygesen, GRID-Arendal’s Program Leader for Geological Resources and a member of the team that worked on the portal, said: “Most of this information has never before been publicly available.”

When GRID-Arendal began in-depth research on mine tailings dams in 2016, very little data was accessible. In a 2017 report on tailings dams, co-published by GRID and the UN Environment Program, one of the key recommendations was to establish an accessible public-interest database of tailings storage facilities.

“This database brings a new level of transparency to the mining industry, which will benefit regulators, institutional investors, scientific researchers, local communities, the media and the industry itself,” Thygesen said.

Vale plans significant investment in dry processing technologies, Reuters says

Vale reportedly plans to invest $2.5 billion on, predominantly, dry processing technology as it looks to draw a line under the recent tailings dam failures that have occurred at its Brazil operations.

Reuters, citing emailed responses from Vale’s Director of Ferrous Planning and Development, Fabiano Carvalho Filho, said the Brazil-based miner would spend the amount over the next five years, with the funds mainly used to convert Vale’s Carajas iron ore mining operations in the northern portion of the country to 100% dry tailings facilities.

The news came on the same day the company released its March quarter financial results, which saw the miner report a $1.6 billion loss on the back of the recent Brumadinho dam rupture.

The company is looking to increase its dry processing operations to 70% of its overall iron ore output by the end of 2023, from 60% currently, according to the Reuters report.

Of the 17 processing lines of Plant 1 at Carajas, 11 are already using dry technologies and the remaining six wet lines will be converted by 2022, Carvalho Filho reportedly said.

In addition, the investments will also go towards two projects in Minas Gerais – one for a new iron ore processing complex, with the other focused on restarting a previously operational mine – the news agency said.

The dry processing spend is part of an existing program under which Vale has invested almost $17.5 billion over the last decade, Carvalho Filho told Reuters, adding that the investments were not directly tied to the recent tailings dam spills at the Brumadinho and Mariana dams.

Flowrox builds on NovaTek acquisition with launch of filter technology

Weeks after acquiring Swedish filtration technology company, NovaTek AB, Flowrox Oy has launched its Flowrox Filter Press and Flowrox Ceramic Disc Filter.

These products significantly strengthen the Flowrox product range in the solid/liquid separation market, the company said.

When the company announced the addition of NovaTek earlier this month, Simo Manninen, Vice President of Marketing at Flowrox, said: “Flowrox aims to grow not only its existing core, valves and pumps business, but also selected strategic growth areas. With the acquisition of NovaTek, we are seeking to grow in the solid/liquid separation.”

NovaTek filters are used in metallurgical industries to filter cadmium, cobalt, chlorine, copper and selenium. They can also be used for several other applications, such as polishing of pickling acids in the steel industry, pigment separation and washing, and in power plants in the separation of gypsum.

Flowrox said the Filter Press was developed with filter operators and is well appreciated, especially among leading global metal production companies. It “presents fully automatic operation, high quality, superb performance and high availability”.

The Flowrox Ceramic Disc Filter (pictured) requires low investment and delivers clear filtrate with dry cake, according to the company. “Compared to conventional vacuum filters, it consumes approximately 90% less energy.” The filter operates continuously with high capacity and is a cost-efficient solution for many concentrator and tailings processes, the company said.

Flowrox, up until recently a manufacturer of industrial valves and pumps, aims to deliver complete filtration solutions to maximise production, reduce downtime and lower total costs.

A team of experienced Flowrox professionals provide the whole package of services starting with detailed analysis of process, filtration testing, equipment selection and sizing according to the test results and practical experience, Flowrox says, with the aim to optimise filtration performance.