Moffett, RH 2015, 'Attributes of silica treatment on strength, physical properties and consolidation rates of fluid fine tailings', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Proceedings of the 18th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 119-130, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1504_07_Moffett
Management of fluid fine tailings (FFT) is an ongoing challenge to the mining industry. To meet this challenge, in situ polymerisation of silica has been proposed as a low cost and practical method for treatment of fluid fine tailings. Silica polymerisation modifies the rheological properties of FFT, imparting significant yield strength and consolidation benefits which are maintained throughout the dewatering process. In situ polymerisation creates a continuous silica network within the fluid phase of the FFT that allows unrestricted water movement but prevents fines migration and blinding of drainage boundaries. Silica treated FFT has been demonstrated to enable self-weight consolidation. More rapid consolidation rates can be achieved through increased effective stress generated by thicker lifts and surcharge loading made practical by the high strength and enhanced erosion resistance provided by silica treatment.
This paper will provide a general overview of how in situ polymerisation functions and its effect on FFT physical properties and consolidation rates.
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