Authors: Johnson, J; Vizcarra, J


Cite As:
Johnson, J & Vizcarra, J 2020, 'Modernization of Chinalco Toromocho Copper Tailings Thickeners', in H Quelopana (ed.), Paste 2020: 23rd International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings, Gecamin Publications, Santiago,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

The Chinalco Toromocho copper mine uses four (4) 43-m diameter paste-type tailings thickener, each is designed to process over 1,300 dry metric tons per hour, mtph and 3,600 cubic meters per hour, m3/h of slurry. The target non-Newtonian underflow was designed to be pumped to the tailings storage facility, TSF to be surface stacked. Difficulty has been experienced achieving the target underflow causing water balance, pumping capacity and other issues. Chinalco contracted WesTech to perform an optimization study to evaluate the benefit of retrofitting their feed system and mechanism of their thickeners with the latest advances in the market. Plant trend data was analyzed over the past 1.5 years, establishing the current operation of the site. The tailings stream variation range in dry mtph, particle size distribution, PSD, and flocculant consumption, are shown. The underflow weight percent and overflow clarity operating ranges were tracked. The analysis gives the effect these critical parameters have on thickener performance. A comparison is provided of the predicted modernization performance in response to the established operating variability. This paper provides a review of the Toromocho thickeners trend data based performance, optimization study results, and the mine’s way forward to optimize their tailings thickeners.

Valderrama, J. (2016), Analysis integral of Reliability of the tailings thickeners 255-TM-003, 1st Peru Congress on Tailings, Lima Peru, Dec 1-2, 2016
Shaw A., & MacNamara L. (2006), Design and Commissioning of the Lisheen Backfill Plant, in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds) Proceeding of Paste 2006, Perth Australia, R.J. Jewell et al eds. pp 347-58
Johnson, J & Accioly, A (2017), 'Feedwell is the heart of a thickener', in A Wu & R Jewell (eds), Proceedings of the 20th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, pp. 23-28
Cook, RD & Johnson, JL (2015), 'A novel method to locate and profile the bed of a thickener', in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Proceedings of the 18th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 45-53

© Copyright 2022, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
Please direct any queries or error reports to