Julien, M 2023, 'The evolution of practice in the field of mine waste and water management in the last 10 years with supporting examples', in GW Wilson, NA Beier, DC Sego, AB Fourie & D Reid (eds), Paste 2023: Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings
, University of Alberta, Edmonton, and Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 2-14, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2355_0.1
Professional practice in the field of tailings, water, and rockfill management has undergone important changes in the last 10 years, forcing mining companies and practitioners to adapt very quickly. These changes, while already happening, have been accelerated by a series of important failures and the realization that the ways of the past were no longer acceptable. The most significant remaining changes include the realization by mining companies of the importance of their role and responsibilities as Owners in the safe performance of these facilities, the development of new techniques and methodologies to characterize and model the behaviour of these materials, and the integration of new technologies and management approaches to further de-risk projects. The improvement of tailings dewatering technologies has been at the core of some of these profound changes and has allowed the emergence of new mine waste management philosophies that are expressing themselves in a variety of ways throughout the industry. Clear trends have emerged like the deposition of tailings at higher percentage solids, a desire to simplify water management, a push to increase the robustness of infrastructure and systems, and the development of a higher sense of awareness and of more expertise throughout organizations. They also have profoundly changed the way mining companies are now viewing mine waste and water management projects. The following presents an overview of a series of recurrent issues encountered on real projects and how they have been addressed, in particular, through the integration of dewatering technologies. It touches also on some of the key dilemmas facing mining companies since this field remains one of tough choices in the context of the reality of mining projects, the expectations of stakeholders and partners, the financial capacity of companies, the expected life of projects, land access and land/water usage, etc.
Keywords: mine waste management, tailings, water management, dewatering, governance
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