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Environmental pressures, economic consideration and ‘visual’ preoccupations have imposed on industry the
need to address the issue of the disposal of their process residues with much greater attention and in the
respect of the neighbouring communities. Rio Tinto Alcan who has pioneered the development and the use of
Deep Thickeners for the production of paste slurries since the early 1970s, has over the years, taken a more
global approach to the problem of thickening and disposal techniques and continues to maintain a very
active research and development program on this topic.
In designing a new paste system or retro-fitting an existing sector of a plant, Rio Tinto Alcan has realised
that attention must be focused on feed material compatibility, operation simplicity, space optimisation and of
course capital cost. Approaches that address these key concerns have been developed and are being
outlined. They include dedicated evaluation program, specific design of thickening units and auxiliary
equipment, control system, adapted removal and mud transfer system. The overall solution does include in
addition the operation and management of the mud disposal site.
Some insights on future developments and directions will also be presented.
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Thickening/mud stacking technology — an environmental approach to residue management J. Doucet and R. Paradis
22 Paste 2010, Toronto, Canada