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Water is a significant issue in the Atacama desert, and at a variety of mining
locations worldwide. Maximizing water recovery makes sense both economically
and environmentally. Surface stacking of tailings would appear to significantly
improve water recovery for a limited additional capital expense. An additional
benefit is extending the tailings impoundment life. However, even though surface
stacking of tailings would appear to be both feasible and reasonable, the number
of mines practicing this method is relatively low. So why hasn’t this technology
taken off in a dry climate like the Atacama? A number of studies have been done
looking at applying these methods to handle very high tonnages, but none of
them have gone ahead. This paper will consider some of the reasons why and the
barriers to implementing these projects.
252 Paste 2005, Santiago, Chile
High Tonnage Surface Stacking... Schoenbrunn, F.
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