Tag Archives: tailings management

Metso Outotec to help Karara Mining expand tailings filtration at iron ore mine

Metso Outotec has signed a contract with Karara Mining Limited for the design of its tailings filtration plant expansion project at its iron ore mine in Western Australia.

This agreement includes the delivery of key filtration and material handling equipment and associated services, with the typical value for an order like this is in the range of €15-20 million ($11-15 million) depending on the scope of delivery. The order has been booked in Minerals’ June quarter 2021 orders received.

Karara produces a premium, high-grade (65-68% Fe) magnetite concentrate at a design production rate of 8 Mt/y, Metso Outotec said. With this expansion, the operation will increase the current tailings filtration capacity from 30,000 t/d to over 45,000 t/d enabling safe and sustainable storage of the process mine waste, with improved utilisation and recovery of water.

Kai Rönnberg, Vice President, Minerals Sales − Asia Pacific, said: “The Karara mine represents one of the largest filtered tailings facilities in the world. We are very proud that Karara Mining Limited has chosen Metso Outotec to deliver the plant design and key equipment in this expansion project. This is a continuation of earlier delivered proprietary key process equipment and long-term on-site maintenance service agreements.”

Metso Outotec’s scope in this expansion will include the Larox® FFP3512 filter press as primary filtration equipment, material handling conveyor systems and peripheral items. Additionally, spare parts and supervisory services will be supplied to support commissioning and plant ramp-up. Delivery will take place during 2022, and the plant is expected to start production late in the December quarter of 2022.

Weir Minerals pairs Multiflo, Warman and ESCO technology in latest slurry pump

Weir Minerals has launched the new Multiflo® Mudflo™ hydraulic submersible slurry pump, engineering the pump to, it says, tackle abrasive applications and large particle handling.

The Multiflo Mudflo pump features a hydraulically driven wet-end specifically designed to efficiently and safely reprocess and relocate tailings ponds, maintain water retention dams and manage slimes and sludge ponds.

It combines the Warman® MGS pump-end, Multiflo CB32 hydraulic cutters and ESCO® excavation teeth to provide efficient pumping of highly charged and abrasive slurries, the company claims.

Weir Minerals’ Ultrachrome® A05 chrome alloy impeller ensures high wear resistance and the specially engineered suction strainer minimises the risk of clogging by preventing large solids and debris from entering the pump. Drawing on decades of Warman pump design experience, the Multiflo Mudflo pump is capable of pumping between 150 cu.m/h and 1,200 cu.m/h, up to 82 m head.

The Multiflo CB32 hydraulic cutters feature the ESCO Ultralok® tooth system to prevent premature breakage, avoid tooth loss and protect the integral locking system to ensure the continuous operation of the pump, it says.

Engineered by the Weir Minerals dewatering pump experts in Australia, it is available for global customers from July 2021.

Cameron Murphy, Director of Dewatering Weir Minerals APAC, said: “The Multiflo brand is synonymous with high quality and long-lasting equipment. In designing the Mudflo pump, our dewatering experts drew from the very best Multiflo, Warman and ESCO technology and used advanced hydraulics to create an innovative and cost-effective new solution for mine dredging applications.”

The product was developed following close customer collaboration and a mutual commitment to safety and technical excellence, Weir Minerals said.

Geoff Way, Weir Minerals Dewatering Specialist, said: “It is not uncommon for sites to use a combination of pumps, shovels, excavators and trucks for dredging applications. When one of our long-time partners in Indonesia contacted us about developing a custom solution for the slurry build-up in their sumps, we knew we could provide a better solution. We are problem solvers. We considered our customer’s pain points and engineered a new solution to efficiently and safely manage their site processes.”

The Multiflo Mudflo pump can also be retrofitted to competitor OEM equipment, Weir Minerals says, with the quick-hitch plate attachment ensuring convenient installation and removal from hydraulic excavators.

The Multiflo Mudflo pump can be assembled on land, eliminating the safety risks associated with assembling pumps over water. Furthermore, the new hydraulic hose management system reduces the risk of hose entanglement and trip hazards, all the while providing a reliable hose bend radius to ensure smooth oil flow.

ANDRITZ ups the filtration ante with new ME2500 filter press

ANDRITZ has introduced a new filter press, the ME2500, to complete its range of “proven” A4F and the SE series filter presses for the mining and minerals industry.

The ME2500 is the best-fit for fast processing of tailings (also with high clay content) or mining concentrates like iron, copper, lead or zinc, the company says. The new model has an hourly processing capacity of up to 450 kg/sq.m, a filtration area of up to 840 sq.m, and features chained plates for faster filter cake discharge. These attributes enable the highest throughputs without compromising on safety, while reflecting a customer focus on saving water, ANDRITZ says.

The innovative closure system on the ME2500 largely replaces hydraulic components with electrical ones and further reduces cycle times, thus increasing capacity and operating availability.

“The increased use of electrical components enables highly sustainable operation of the filter press by reducing the amount of hydraulic oil needed, as well as improving safety thanks to more precise control and less reliance on high-pressure lines that are susceptible to leaks,” the company said.

In addition, and to further optimise the productivity of single machines or plants with multiple filter presses, all modules of the ANDRITZ intelligent filter press – controlled by the Metris addIQ control system – are also available for the ME2500 filter press and can be provided with the full range of options. This draws on smart sensors, data analytics and augmented reality, including multiple sensors to allow for online safety monitoring of the plate package and moveable parts.

The company concluded: “The safe disposal of tailings generated by the mining and minerals sector is a significant cost factor for the industry. ANDRITZ is known for its innovative range of overhead and sidebar filter presses that meet the industry’s most stringent requirements with regard to fast cake discharge and saving water and costs. The maintenance-friendly equipment from ANDRITZ is easily upgradeable, with a modular design for customised process solutions.”

Metso Outotec and FAM to collaborate on IPCC, tailings projects

Metso Outotec and FAM GmbH have signed a global non-exclusive co-operation agreement on the delivery of integrated end-to-end solutions for in-pit crush and convey (IPCC) and tailings management plants to the mining industry.

The combination of the companies’ leading expertise in their respective fields will allow the parties to form the market’s strongest offering for IPCC and tailings management plants, they said.

“Mine electrification, reduction in power and water consumption, as well as de-risking tailings disposal, are common goals for the mining industry and Metso Outotec to improve sustainability,” Metso Outotec said. “State-of-the-art IPCC and tailings management plants cater for these requirements.”

Markku Teräsvasara, President of the Minerals business area at Metso Outotec, said sustainability is a top priority for Metso Outotec.

“In addition to our investments to develop our IPCC and tailings management plant offering, we are pleased to be able to announce our cooperation with FAM,” he said. “This will allow us to meet our customers’ growing demand in such plants, where spreaders or conveyor bridges are required.”

Torsten Gerlach, CEO of FAM, added: “FAM’s leading technology in dry tail stacking systems and spreaders ties well in with Metso Outotec’s hard-rock crushing and minerals processing portfolio. Where end-to-end systems are required, we are glad teaming up with a strong partner.”

GroundProbe reacts to geohazard monitoring concerns with RGR-Velox

GroundProbe says it has launched the industry’s most advanced doppler radar for reactive geohazard monitoring, the RGR-Velox.

RGR-Velox (Reactive Geohazard Radar) is a military-precision reactive monitoring and alarming system for tailings dam breaches, large slope failures, landslides and avalanches. It detects, tracks and alarms on moving geohazards in real time, keeping people, assets and communities safe by giving warning of a breach or collapse, GroundProbe, an Orica subsidiary, explained.

The RGR-Velox is the latest technology to be born out of GroundProbe’s Research and Development (R&D) and product development programs, and the most recent innovation to be added to the company’s fleet of technologies and services.

This is GroundProbe’s first product release in reactive monitoring, with the company now offering both predictive and reactive monitoring technologies. Its predictive monitoring solutions (Slope Stability Radars and lasers) detect and warn people and communities of impending mine collapses, dam failures, rockfalls and landslides. The RGR-Velox, a reactive monitoring solution, tracks and alarms on already moving geohazards, post-collapse, giving early warning to take action or evacuate through alarm outputs such as lights, sirens, pagers or phones.

GroundProbe CEO, David Noon, said the company has a customer-oriented approach to innovation and technology which has led to the development of this reactive monitoring solution.

“GroundProbe already has the industry’s broadest range of geotechnical monitoring technologies and services, yet we continually strive to design and develop new solutions to best meet our customers’ needs,” he said. “This technology was a true collaboration between many facets of our organisation, a valued customer and a key partner.

“By having our customers actively participate in our product development process, we are able to co-create value and produce the most beneficial solution offering.”

The RGR-Velox is the highest precision, fastest scanning and longest range doppler radar in the market, according to the company. Military-grade hardware is combined with GroundProbe’s safety-critical software, alarming and systems to provide, it says, unrivalled confidence.

GroundProbe’s VP Technology, Fernanda Carrea, said the RGR-Velox sets the new standard in emergency geohazard monitoring.

“The RGR-Velox sweep-scans an entire area instantly, much like taking a radar photograph, to capture actionable information as it happens and provide new details of the scene every 0.25 seconds,” Carrea said. “Perhaps most impressive is the device’s ability to differentiate and locate small moving objects with precise accuracy, even when moving at just 0.05 m/s.

“Its alarming capabilities are completely customisable, ensuring users are empowered to design alarms tailored entirely to their specific site challenges and conditions.”

Noon said this latest piece of technology reinforces GroundProbe’s number one value and commitment to safety.

“At GroundProbe, we aim to keep people, assets and communities safe through better risk management and the RGR-Velox is the ultimate assistant in reactive safety monitoring.”

The Mining Association of Canada updates tailings management guidance

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has announced updates to its guidance on responsible tailings management that, the association says, aligns its policies with the ‘Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management’ published last year.

The Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) standard, first developed by MAC in 2004, is a globally recognised sustainability program that supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. TSM was the first mining sustainability standard in the world to require site-level assessments and is mandatory for all companies that are members of implementing associations.

Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators.

As part of this, MAC has also come up with its ‘Tailings Management Protocol’ and supporting guidance documents.

“TSM provides an established system for credible performance measurement and reporting, including rigorous standards to help ensure that tailings facilities are being responsibly managed,” MAC said. “Effective tailings management is rightly being prioritised more than ever to ensure that stakeholders, communities surrounding mine sites, investors and the general public can have confidence in how mining operations are being run.”

Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President & CEO, said the publication of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management last year provided a good opportunity to review TSM’s requirements, with a view to incorporating aspects of it that would further enhance the safe management of tailings facilities around the world.

“What we found was broad alignment in most critical aspects, plus some opportunities to further strengthen our guidance and TSM requirements,” he said. “We also found that, in many respects, TSM is more detailed and rigorous than the standard and is a surer guarantee of the safe management of tailings facilities.”

In efforts to ensure continued best practices and world leading tailings management expertise, MAC has updated ‘A Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities’ to improve alignment with requirements of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. These updates, the first step in a process of further strengthening TSM requirements and guidance for tailings management, are based on a detailed comparison of the equivalency of TSM requirements to those of the standard, MAC said. To further align with the standard, MAC is also expanding the application of the TSM Tailings Management Protocol to closed and inactive sites.

With these changes, TSM will, MAC says, meet or exceed most of the requirements in the standard and will continue to:

  1. Provide more detailed and rigorous performance measurement expectations. For example, the standard has three high-level requirements related to developing and implementing an operation, maintenance and surveillance (OMS) manual for tailings facilities, whereas TSM identifies more than 120 items that must be addressed to be in conformance with the TSM requirement to develop and implement an OMS manual;
  2. Take a more comprehensive approach to identifying and addressing human and community rights and benefits; and
  3. Have an established and independent verification process with almost two decades of experience measuring, assuring and publicly reporting site level performance.

Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Church of England Pensions Board, who repesented the Principles for Responsible Investment that helped developed the standard, said: “We welcome the Mining Association of Canada’s intent to incorporate the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management into the TSM framework. We hope and expect the mining industry as a whole to adopt the standard, and support improvements that will lead to the safer management of waste.”

TSM does not fully address elements of the standard related to the planning, design, and initial construction of new tailings facilities. In addition to guidance in the MAC Tailings Guide, MAC members also rely upon the Canadian Dam Association safety guidelines and tailings dam bulletins.

Gratton concluded: “With the growth and expansion of TSM internationally, including its adoption most recently by the Minerals Council of Australia, we now have a robust system for ensuring the promotion and implementation of best practices in tailings management the world over.”

Nordgold taps Swift Geospatial for tailings and community monitoring at Lefa

Nord Gold has implemented a new state-of-the-art monitoring system at its Lefa mine in Guinea that, it says, will help it keep track of the condition of the operation’s tailings storage facilities to proactively identify potential risks.

The move, in line with the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship, has been facilitated by Swift Geospatial Solutions, a service provider experienced in change detection algorithms that developed the solution.

Lefa’s new monitoring system uses satellite imagery processing algorithms to both analyse the condition of the mine’s tailings storage facilities, as well as monitor community welfare by tracking community dynamics, including house building, it said.

Additionally, the technology can help to monitor artisanal mining activities around Lefa’s current mining permit, allowing local management to better assess and prevent potential safety and security hazards

The company explained: “The Lefa mine’s licence area currently spans more than 1,100 sq.km. The latest satellite technology enables cost-effective monitoring of this expanse with regular updates and is backed by a robust AI package.

“As part of the new system, Planet and SkySAT satellite platforms will be used to perform different tasks, both integrated within the Swift Geospatial Solutions online platform. All outputs are delivered through a custom-built web-application and dashboard environment.”

Evgeny Tulubensky, Nordgold’s Chief Legal Officer and Director of ESG at Nordgold, added: “We are very pleased to test this innovative tool, enabled by satellites, at our Lefa mine. It will help us to receive timely and relevant information about the condition of Lefa’s critical environmental infrastructure and the mine’s immediate surroundings.

“Using this rich data, our aim is to continue reducing our impact on the natural environment and ensuring the sustainable development of local communities. Depending on the outcomes of this pilot, we will assess its viability for other Nordgold operations.”

Polymetal 2020 profits rise as it accelerates ESG efforts

Polymetal recorded a strong set of financials in 2020, with its revenue, adjusted EBITDA and net earnings metrics all benefitting from higher production volumes and commodity prices.

Revenue increased by 28% year-on-year to $2.87 billion, adjusted EBITDA rose 57% to $1.69 billion and net earnings hit a record $1.09 billion in 2020.

The company’s 2020 gold-equivalent output amounted to 1.56 Moz, a 4% increase year-on-year and 4% above the original production guidance of 1.5 Moz. Strong contributions from its Kyzyl, Varvara and Albazino mines offset a planned grade decline at Voro, as well as lower production at Svetloye, the company said.

While production rose, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduced by 4%, Polymetal said. It attributed this to energy efficiency initiatives, switching its mining fleet to electric vehicles, a shift from diesel to grid energy sources and green energy contracts.

Back in December, SMT Scharf AG signed an agreement with Polymetal to develop and produce battery-electric powered LHDs and mid-range underground trucks as prototypes for its gold and silver mines, with these units to be delivered to the company by October 2021.

Polymetal’s environmental, social and governance efforts did not stop there.

In 2020, the company invested $29 million at its Omolon hub in the Magadan region of Russia. This capital expenditure was mainly related to the construction of a dry tailings storage facility and engineering and preparatory works for a 2.5 MW solar plant (due to come online this year). This will be joined by another 5-10 MW solar facility at its Kyzyl operation (Kazakhstan) in 2022.

On its other tailings facilities, Polymetal said: “We operate eight tailings dams in Russia and Kazakhstan; each is rigorously monitored daily. We are confident that any emergency dam failure would have no impact on local communities and employees.

“We welcome the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management and have committed to achieving compliance in all operations by 2023.”

In addition to state authority inspections of these facilities, the company conducted an independent third-party audit of its Mayskoye (Chukotka, Russia) tailings site, which was carried out virtually, due to COVID-19 restrictions, by Knight Piésold Ltd. “To further improve tailings safety and minimise the risk of the possibility of dam failure, we are shifting towards dry stack storage methods,” it said.

“Such facilities are already in operation at our Amursk and Voro (pictured filter press) mines, and will be extended to Omolon (2021), Nezhda (2021), POX-2 (2022), Dukat (2024) and Veduga (2025).”

Weir releases new gate valve as it advances Terraflowing, ToolTek solutions

Weir Minerals has released a new Isogate® WR knife gate valve to reduce cycling discharge while improving wear life.

The lightweight, long-lasting Isogate WR knife gate valve offers miners and aggregates operators alike a step change in valve performance, according to Weir Minerals.

The release came on the same week Weir Group announced its 2020 financial results, which saw the company report revenue and adjusted operating profit of £1.97 billion ($2.73 billion) and £305 million from continuing operations, respectively. These figures were down 4% and 3%, respectively, from 2019 totals.

On the new valve, Weir said: “Incorporating the latest advances in design and materials technology from Weir Minerals’ expert engineers, the range of Isogate WR knife gate valves are more reliable, while producing minimal fluid discharge and weighing considerably less than equivalent mining valves.”

John Abbott, Global Product Manager – Valves & Tailings, said: “Drawing on decades of wear analysis, we’ve optimised the Isogate WR knife gate valve’s body design, by reinforcing the areas subjected to the harshest wear and pressure. At the same time, we have reduced the weight elsewhere to produce a robust, long-lasting mining valve that’s significantly lighter than comparable products.

“The weight reduction can be especially significant in situations where a number of valves are used on a specific installation, such as in a hydrocyclone cluster, or where lightweight piping systems are used.”

The gate has also been redesigned, with stronger materials resulting in a thinner gate that can still withstand the pressure of mining slurries. This combines with the valve’s unique gate guide that, Weir says, reduces deflection by ensuring smooth gate movement and less strain on the sleeve elastomer during blade transition.

The Isogate WR knife gate valve uses Weir Minerals’ new Isogate WSL sleeve, which comes with proprietary Linard® HD 60 silica-reinforced natural rubber to solve the three most common problems with sleeved knife gate valves: leakage during cycling, tearing and load distribution ring (LDR) failure due to corrosion and erosion, the company explained.

Leveraging the Linard HD 60 rubber’s high resilience against cut, tear and abrasive wear to improve wear life, the new Isogate WSL sleeve fully encloses the LDR to prevent corrosion. By allowing the rubber to move with the blade cycles, the design reduces the chance of tearing while reducing slurry discharge by up to 75%, according to Weir.

The Isogate WSL sleeve can also be used in existing Isogate WS knife gate valves, improving wear life and decreasing discharge on cycling.

Abbott added: “When designing the Isogate WR knife gate valve, we focused on features that improve the everyday experience of working with our valves. This includes important things like improved grease distribution and improved body flushing when used on high solids concentration applications.

“In-depth finite element analysis enables us to ensure the product’s integrity, while making it lightweight. There are also a lot of smaller features to make life easier, such as a larger grease reservoir, ISO mount standardisation and an external visual indicator for the valve’s status.”

Other notable developments from Weir Group’s 2020 financial results included the first order for ESCO’s ToolTek™ system.

This collaborative effort with key mining customers provides enhanced safety for maintenance personnel during the replacement of worn Nemisys® points and adapters, according to ESCO. It features a hydraulic crane mounted tool that is remotely operated, well out of harm’s way during the replacement of worn components. New parts are pre-staged on racks  positioned on the flatbed truck outfitted with the hydraulic crane. The truck also features a recycle bin for safer disposal of worn parts.

Alongside this, Weir said in 2020 it installed the first pilot Terraflowing® plant at a customer’s mine site designed to cost-effectively reduce water in tailings, enabling this waste product to be safely stored or repurposed.

Terraflowing incorporates a two-stage cyclone dewatering process followed by centrifugation of the final stage of cycloning overflow. In the process, three dewatered tailings streams are produced: a primary cyclone underflow, a secondary cyclone underflow and a centrifuge pulp. These three streams can be combined or used in different configurations depending on the end use of the tailings stream, according to Weir Minerals.

This three-stage system offers the flexibility to make provision for variations in mineralogy and particle size distribution as well as the opportunity to recover ‘tailings as a resource’, it added.

SMI-ICE-Chile projects taking on BHP Tailings Challenge

Two proposals supported by the Sustainable Minerals Institute’s International Centre of Excellence in Chile (SMI-ICE-Chile) are advancing to the second round of the BHP Tailings Challenge.

A global competition that aims to fundamentally change how the industry manages copper tailings, the BHP Tailings Challenge announced in January that 10 companies and consortia had been selected to advance to the laboratory test stage of the program. The challenge is seeking solutions and new business models to reuse copper tailings.

The SMI-ICE-Chile-supported proposals advancing to the proof-of-concept stage include one from the Solar Tailings Transformation (STT) Consortium, which SMI-ICE-Chile leads. This consortium is proposing a solution that integrates several solar thermal energy-powered processes to convert tailings material into a stable multi-purpose pellet and high-quality water.

SMI-ICE-Chile is also the local coordinator of the Recomine proposal, which is led by the Helmholtz-Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology and is focused on the development and integration of a series of modular processes to separate out valuable products from the tailings.

The BHP Tailings Challenge, supported by Fundación Chile through its Expande program, aims to promote and deliver new technological solutions and business models for reusing copper tailings, and will provide $10 million in grants to successful developers.

The teams advancing to the proof-of-concept stage are given a $50,000 grant and sample of tailings with which to validate their solutions at a laboratory level before demonstrating its technical and economic feasibility in a demo day in August 2021.

SMI-ICE-Chile Sustainability Leader, Dr Douglas Aitken, said both proposals are innovative solutions that have the potential to drive positive change in tailings management practices and generate considerable value to industry and society.

“The social and environmental issues associated with tailings represent a major challenge for the industry, but by replacing the traditional disposal-based approach with new and innovative value recovery solutions, we aim to eliminate the negative aspects of tailings and instead create social and economic benefits,” he said.

The BHP Tailings Challenge provides an opportunity to develop and test exciting new ideas that could result in the tailings management process becoming safer and an industry asset instead of a burden, SMI-ICE-Chile added.

Dr Felipe Saavedra, the STT project lead for the SMI-ICE-Chile team, explained the proposed concept and the expected benefits.

“The STT consortium is a multi-disciplinary group comprised of researchers from SMI-ICE-Chile, SMI, IMDEA Energy, SEENSO, and Aiguasol Latam,” he said. “The proposed concept aims to repurpose over 50% of operational tailings production using solar thermal energy to dewater the tailings and produce a stable and flexible end-product.

“It is a sustainable approach that takes a complex and difficult-to-handle mine waste and transforms it into a material that can be used by numerous local industries, such as construction, road building and agriculture. We expect that the recovered water will also have considerable value for local water users, its availability should offset freshwater extraction from natural resources, thereby protecting local ecosystems.”

Dr Saavedra concluded: “We hope that the solution will generate wide-spread social and economic development and we’re looking forward to testing the technologies with our partners in the coming months.”