Authors: Vietti, AJ

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DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2115_20

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Vietti, AJ 2021, 'Revaluing paste and thickened tailings for large tonnage applications', in AB Fourie & D Reid (eds), Paste 2021: 24th International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 239-250, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2115_20

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Abstract:
A decade ago, paste and thickened tailings (P&TT) disposal was regarded as a potential technology for eliminating so-called wet tailings dams. Despite numerous very successful examples of both surface and backfill applications, by 2015, confidence in the technology had waned after the technical difficulties encountered at two high-profile, large tonnage copper tailings projects in South America. The recent spate of deadly tailings dam disasters has refocused public and private sector attention on conventional tailings disposal. The knee-jerk reaction from the mining industry has been to ignore P&TT and focus on dry stacking as the solution to the problem, which itself is still a relatively immature technology for large tonnages. This paper attempts to explain the apparent lack of recognition that P&TT as a legitimate and safe tailings disposal method has received. A chronological review of P&TT technology implementation and possible reasons for its loss of favour, particularly in large tonnage applications, is provided.

Keywords: dewatering, filtration, tailings, thickening

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