Pornillos, EU, Loayza, CC & Cabrejos, JA 2009, 'High Density Thickened Tailings Transport by Gravity', in R Jewell, AB Fourie, S Barrera & J Wiertz (eds), Paste 2009: Proceedings of the Twelfth International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 233-242, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/963_27
Golder has been developing a protocol for characterising the gravity flow of thickened tailings in open
channels. The protocol employs a test apparatus consisting of a portable flume that allows field tests to be
carried out at site. Key features include an adjustable slope setting and surface roughness. Equipped with a
recirculation loop and a variable speed peristaltic pump, the gravity flow of thickened slurry can be
characterised at various slopes, volumetric flow rate and the corresponding stream profile. Through the
pump loop, rheological properties of the pulp is determined from samples taken off the line at any time using
a Haake VT550 viscometer. Flow rates can be calibrated manually.
The laboratory in Lima-Peru has two types of apparatuses, a 3 m long fixed width flume and a 5 m long steel
flume with variable width. Surface roughness can be modified. The recirculation loop has a throughput up to
6m3/h. The slope is adjustable from 0% to over 5%.
For the testwork, conventional tailings materials were sourced from various mines in Peru. The slurries
were dewatered to a range of concentrations, from dilute to paste-like consistency. Using a rotational
viscometer, the static yield stress of the actively flowing stream was determined immediately, thus the
relationship between solids content and degree of shear-thinning through the recirculation can be
established. Recently, the Golder’s protocol and flume apparatuses were employed at two mines in Peru in
the simulation of flows in open channel.
In this paper, the laboratory and field results are presented in graphical format. The major findings of the
current work are: a) the effect of yield stress on slopes b) there is a critical value of yield stress at which
gravity flow is stable c) flow rate and slope relationships appear to be mainly dependent on rheology d) the
requirements of mass and energy balance is satisfied e) in high density flocculated and thickened tailings,
the rheology changes rapidly with shear rate, hence the critical slope changes accordingly f) the pattern of
the stream flow of high yield stress pulps are not fully explained by the classical hydraulic model c) the
modelling can be extended to prediction of flow in natural gullies.
Pirouz, B., Kavianpour, M.R. and Williams, P (2005) Thickened tailings beach deposition field observations and full-
scale flume testing, Proceedings of the Eighth International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings,
A.B. Fourie and R.J. Jewell (eds), Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, Australia, pp. 53–72.
Rayo Prieto, J. (1993) Transporte hidraulico de solidos a grandes distancias, SONAMI, Lima, Peru, April.
242 Paste 2009, Viña del Mar, Chile