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Danish multinational engineering company FLSmidth has unveiled tailings solutions to meet the different characteristics of mine sites globally
Practically every mining company is exploring at how they can get water out of tailings. The more water, the greater the risk of damage if there is an accident or leak. The key is to find an economical way to actually get rid of that water and maybe re-use and reprocess that water inside of their facility. Depending on where you’re at in the world – whether it’s in what FLSmidth calls a positive or negative water environment – there are different costs with the different solutions, and, of course, there are different solutions FLSmidth would recommend to customers with different mine characteristics.
FLSmidth work with customers to look at the local constraints, such as what are the local regulations and permits, what are the seismic conditions, rainfall patterns, the concerns of the local population and many more aspects. FLSmidth also, importantly, examines the economics of a particular solution for a certain site.
A good example of this is in Chile and Peru, where they use a lot of desalinated water because it’s an arid climate. By the time they pump that up to altitude, that can be up to US$8 per cu/m. So even if regulations aren’t driving them to a particular solution, at US$8 per cu/m you could pay for a lot of dewatering technologies to re-use water.
FLSmidth supplies almost every kind of dewatering technology you can think of: everything from large conventional thickeners and hydro-cyclones, paste thickeners which remove some more water, vacuum filters which remove water, pressure filters which remove the most water but also tend to the most expensive, and hydro-cyclones. FLSmidth also supplies transport technologies so you can transport these tailings after you’ve dewatered them. Those consist of KREBS centrifugal pumps, overland conveyors, and different stacking technologies like radial stackers and mobile stacking conveyors, or boom spreaders.
FLSmidth runs technology trade-off studies. If a miner gives a single sample, FLSmidth can take that sample, evaluate all those different dewatering technologies FLSmidth has, and also evaluate all the different transport technologies, and come up with an optimal tailings solution for that particular site and mine.
For more information, visit www.flsmidth.com