Copeland, AM, Lyell, KA & van Greunen, P 2006, 'Disposal of Belt Filtered Tailings – Skorpion Zinc Case Study: Feasibility, Design and Early Operation', in R Jewell, S Lawson & P Newman (eds), Proceedings of the Ninth International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 243-254.
Skorpion Zinc Mine comprises an opencast mine and refinery and is located in the south west of Namibia in
a very arid area, with desert sand dunes to the west and rugged mountains to the east. The refinery began
operating in mid 2003 treating an oxide orebody to recover zinc by means of a leaching, solvent extraction
and electro-winning process. The tailings produced from the leaching process is belt filtered to recover
soluble zinc, justifying the expense of filtration. The filter cake is a fine grained material with significant
clay and mica fractions and has a high average moisture content of 40% (water mass/total mass). While
filtration achieved key objectives of recovering soluble zinc contained in residue and minimising water
consumption, the transportation and disposal of the tailings posed technical challenges. This case study aims
to cover a 7 year period including the feasibility study, design and early operating period, highlighting issues
and decisions associated with each phase of the project.
Anglo American Technical Services (2000) Skorpion Zinc project – feasibility study, tailings disposal system, Report No.
CED/025/2000, April, Anglo Base Metals.
Jones and Wagener Consulting Engineers (1998) Tailings disposal facility, Skorpion zinc study, Bateman Minerals and Industrial
Ltd, Report Numbers G46/98/6698 & G38/99/6698, March and November.
Multiple Accounts Analysis (1999) A management decision theory tool for multiple stakeholder decision-making and conflict
resolution, Mining and Geoscience Tool Catalogue, Edumine, www.edumine.com.