Authors: Fitton, TG; Seddon, KD

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Fitton, TG & Seddon, KD 2013, 'Paste and thickened tailings – myth busting and clarification', in R Jewell, AB Fourie, J Caldwell & J Pimenta (eds), Proceedings of the 16th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 37-46.

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Abstract:
It is the contention of this paper that there remains considerable confusion regarding the mechanisms and benefits of thickened tailings schemes. The terminology and interpretation of terms like ‘thickened tailings’ and ‘paste’ receive some consideration, in light of some observed contradiction in the industry. It is also noted that a number of tailings related misconceptions prevail amongst tailings practitioners. This paper attempts to clarify some of these issues, with the intention of dispelling some tailings myths. The subject of tailings beach slope prediction is one particular topic that deserves some consideration in the interests of clarity. A large portion of this paper is devoted to this topic, which has been approached from a number of directions over the past 40 years. Various prediction methods have been presented. Some prediction methods are analytical, with no need for any flume testing. Others have relied on a deposition test in a flume. The use of different types of flumes and deposition tests, either for providing validating data or input data, has created a great deal of confusion over what works and what does not, what is relevant and what is not. There has also been further confusion created by the presentation of the results, with some workers presenting fitted data as predictions. This paper discusses the mechanism of tailings deposition, with a view to evaluating the applicability of some of the approaches that have been presented. Various flume types and their relevance to the process are then discussed. Deposition tests and trials are also discussed in terms of the beach slopes that have been observed. Finally, some protocols are proposed for making the presentation of data more consistent and transparent.

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