Paterson, AJC 2006, 'Rheology Control of Thickened Tailings and Paste Pumping Systems', 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. 47-56.
Thickened and paste tailings typically exhibit non-Newtonian characteristics. It is well established that the
viscous properties of these slurries are dependent on a wide range of parameters, including particle size
distribution, solids concentration, pH and water chemistry. However, many systems are still designed
assuming a constant rheology, and operating conditions are specified in terms of slurry density. At low
solids concentrations this is acceptable as the effects of changes in solids concentration on rheology are
relatively small. As solids concentration increases, small increments have a significant impact on rheology.
Designing for a constant solids concentration or density implies (unrealistically) that the ore body will be
uniform throughout the mine life and results in systems that are not sufficiently flexible to accommodate the
wide fluctuations in rheology that will occur.
This paper presents an alternative methodology that assumes that solids concentration will vary naturally as
physical properties change, and that rheology is the key driver to ensure a reliable, and integrated, system
design. The benefits are numerous, including improved thickener control, optimum pumping system design,
and obtaining consistent deposition and beaching angles.
Slatter, P.T. and Wasp, E.J. (2000) The laminar/turbulent transition in large pipes, 10th International Conference on Transport and
Sedimentation of Solid Particles, Wroclaw, 4-7 September 2000, ISBN 83-87866-12-1, pp. 389-399.