Cooper, RA & Smith, ME 2011, 'Case study – operation of three paste disposal facilities', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Proceedings of the 14th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 261-270.
The major advancement in the disposal of mine tailings over the past decade has been the generation, pumping and deposition of paste or thickened tailings. This has been brought about primarily to reduce water consumption at source but also to reduce other impacts on the environment. Stefanutti Stocks Mining Services operates three paste/thickened tailings facilities in South Africa; De Beers’ combined treatment plant (CTP), De Beers’ Voorspoed Mine and Assmang’s Khumani Mine. The overall operating methodology for the three facilities is very different; however, the principles underpinning the operations are effectively similar. Several papers have been presented over the past few years regarding the operation of the CTP paste facility but few for the Voorspoed Mine facility and none for the Khumani Mine facility. This paper concentrates on the operational aspects of the three facilities providing an update on the CTP facility and describing the Voorspoed and Khumani Mine facilities. Challenges and successes with the facilities are described with the aim of providing guidelines for the design and operation of future paste facilities.