Authors: Raberger, R; Ziaja, D; Godwin, P

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Raberger, R, Ziaja, D & Godwin, P 2010, 'Environmental and economical success through advanced tailing separation process', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on the Reduction of Risk in the Management of Tailings and Mine Waste, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 243-250.

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Abstract:
Worldwide high-grade ores at easily accessible sites become more difficult to find and mine since the known high grade sites are already exploited or located at remote areas. Low grade ore sites receive increasing attention, which challenges beneficiation technologies to become economical. Existing mining waste and more often newly generated mining waste — in particular tailings — become an interesting source to produce additional concentrates, without actual mining costs at over-above profit margins. Furthermore, environmental concerns demand actions towards the huge amounts of tailings, which are already stored in dams. They may need to be treated to clean-up existing environmental damage. Moreover, if the supernatant water is used as process water, the waste volume is minimised and the hazardous impact is reduced. The separation of the tailings into product and waste as well as into a liquid and solid fraction represents an essential process to generate additional profits. Examples are the filtration of red mud and treatment of copper tailings. The plant concept of OAO Severstal Slurry Pond Treatment, Russia is presented, where coal tailings are recycled. Approximately 50% of the solid content of the tailings is converted to a valuable product meeting all required specifications of ash content and residual moisture. The process applied in this plant consists of classification, flotation and liquid solid separation. As an alternative, hyperbaric filtration can be used to replace a dryer together with a vacuum disc filter. The process solution presented here is tailor-made and depends upon the local situation in terms of coal quality target and tailing specifications.

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