Metso Insights Blog Mining and metals blog Leading the way for economical tailings handling
Jun 15, 2021

Leading the way for economical tailings handling

Guido Görres
Guido Görres
Product Manager, FFP Filters
More and more tailings are being generated by mining processes due to lower head grades and complex ores. They adversely impact the ecosystem and the productivity. It is estimated that the annual mine waste and tailings production ranges from 5 to 7 billion tons per year*. With the society turning to a greener and more sustainable future this number is expected to grow. In recent years, tailings handling has received more attention by the industry, society and governments. Reason why it is more important than ever for customer’s to be able to navigate the challenges of tailings handling.
Aerial detail of tailing ponds for mineral waste in rural Utah, United States.

What are some of the most important considerations for tailings handling?

Sustainable and productive mining solutions are essential to not only enable modern life, but also create shared value for customers, community well-being and ecosystem resilience. At Metso Outotec, our goal is to provide holistic tailings management solutions by bringing a step change in the way we view, handle, and manage tailings.

At Metso Outotec, our goal is to provide holistic tailings management solutions by bringing a step change in the way we view, handle, and manage tailings.

It is an important decision for our customers to choose which types of equipment to use for tailings handling. The new Larox FFP3716 filter makes it more economical and more feasible to investigate dry stacking of tailings. While some customers face water restrictions pressure filtration might become a solution to approach. Going to a bigger filter like the Larox FFP3716 has several advantages, one being we can reduce the number of installed equipment, which means less parts to be handled and less labour costs.

We also considered a higher operational pressure, meaning we enable the customer to be able to treat more difficult tailings such as very fine tailings or slimes. These types of tailings are usually a concern as they will liquify easier on a dry stack.

Tailings management.
Webinar: How to solve complex tailings challenges
To learn more about the challenges and potential issues that the mining industry is facing in tailings management, listen to our on-demand webinar about solving complex tailings challenges.

How is smart automation helping to improve tailings handling?

Digital technologies enable mining companies to improve their tailings handling practices while meeting their societal and governmental responsibilities. In recent years, digital technologies have significantly advanced to give companies the possibility to monitor their tailings storage facilities via drones and on ground measurement devices. Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) can give mine operators a higher level of security and more time to react when changes occur.

Metso Outotec has ensured that the Larox FFP3716 filter is equipped with the possibility of local data collection, which can be turned into an in-depth analysis. The capabilities also extend to the hydraulics operation, ultimately reducing the wear of the equipment and increasing the life of components.

Top three customer benefits due to smart automation:

  1. Improved safety

  2. Data collection and analysis, leading to a better optimized process

  3. Preventive maintenance knowhow, leading to reduced wear and tear

Larox FFP3716 filter with pack closed.

How does the industry cooperate with vendors to improve plant efficiency?

It is important to have a clear understanding of the current condition and maintenance needs of equipment. This information can help maximize uptime and better plan long-term resource and production schedules. Undetected issues can lead to breakdowns and unplanned service work, significantly increasing repair costs and production losses.

Metso Outotec has a range of scalable services to offer. Our filtration inspection packages are designed to reduce unplanned downtime, equipment failure and risks associated with operating faulty equipment. We also offer long-term service agreements where we have constant close communication with our customers. This type of cooperation evaluates in depth the site system and plant operational performances. In these long-term service agreements, we work closely with the customer to monitor how the equipment operates. We can then take the learnings from site back to the drawing board to further develop our equipment and turn those designs into even higher-level lifecycle offerings.

Metso Outotec services are available globally around the world.


* Mudd and Boger (2014) The ever growing case for paste and thickened tailings towards more sustainable mine waste management. Aust. Inst. Min. Metall. Bull.

Read more about our proven dewatering solution for difficult tailings applications.