In 2018, less than 5% of all tailings were dewatered in one way or another. This is an alarmingly low figure. Considering the recent dam failures and the increasing global need to use water more responsibly, and the prerequisite for the mines to keep their costs in control, we need a completely new agenda for tailings management.
Metso has launched a new tailings management concept catering to these needs. It offers miners a sustainable way to handle tailings and a new value-creation model through the easy reprocessing of tailings.
Metso sees dry stacking of tailings as the most promising and sustainable way forward. At the same time, the mining community needs to challenge its current way of thinking and include the reprocessing of tailings as part of the overall solution. Extracting valuable minerals from the tailings and legacy dams is both responsible and a good opportunity to convert waste into value. The remaining dry waste can be used as backfill material in the mines.
As Metso sees it, tailings management is not a matter of finding the most technically suitable equipment or solution; it is about transformation and taking the end-of-mine strategy to a new level.
A full-size VPX Filter pilot plant for flowsheet feasibility testing
To utilize the opportunities offered by the new tailings management concept, Metso can support the mines in designing and providing the optimal solution for each case with all necessary products for the dewatering, handling and reprocessing of tailings.
The Metso VPXTM Filter is a significant leap in filtration technology and a key piece of equipment in the solution. The new filter has proven to be effective in filtering the toughest materials, while providing high water recovery and reuse. During testing, we have reached a water recovery of up to 90% and achieved a cake moisture content below 7%.
To help verify an individual mine’s business case, Metso can provide the mine site with a full-scale pilot machine, VPX10, for feasibility testing.
Watch the video above for the full interview on the future of tailings management.