The increasing costs of tailings management and the need for water conservation are significant challenges for economically viable mining operations. Mining companies across the globe face increasing pressure from regulating authorities to find safer and more sustainable solutions for their tailings’ storage facilities.
Due to the continuing risk of failure of tailings dams – and the potential high environmental impact – mining companies are compelled to take significant responsibility in finding safe rehabilitation solutions for their deposits.
A multitude of solutions
At IHC Mining, we have expertise in cost-effective and safe tailings management, and extensive knowledge on the efficient use of water. This puts us at the forefront of helping customers by offering re-handling and reprocessing solutions. And because of the high economic potential for ‘remining’ valuable minerals from legacy mining waste in tailings dams, we have developed a range of integrated solutions for tailings dewatering and mineral separation processing.
Sustainable slurry transport
Slurry transport is an effective and low-cost alternative to truck and shovel transport for the re-handling of stored mine tailings. This is especially the case where road transportation is not viable or large elevations in terrain have to be overcome.
We have developed a semi-mobile tailings slurrification unit (TSU) for slurry generation and transport to a destination site. This is a sustainable alternative to conventional hauling equipment as it can be fed by an amphibious excavator and operate in areas with low bearing capacity (for example, due to high water content).
Using a TSU significantly reduces the carbon footprint and personnel required in a tailings storage facility (TSF). In addition, it is a feasible and mobile alternative to diesel trucks in difficult-to-access and/or restricted areas.
Optimising and controlling water use
Effective water management is vital for sustainable mining operations, especially as many sites now face challenging limits on their freshwater intake, as well as discharge qualities.
This is one of the key reasons why tailings thickeners are used: they settle out suspended solids and return the water back to the process plant to reduce the need for external fresh water. To enable the plant operator to continuously measure the rheology of the mine tailings, IHC Mining has developed the Autonomous Rheo Meter (ARM).
The ARM measures rheology parametres of non-newtonian slurries. As this process no longer needs to be done manually, this results in more and improved measurement data, limited maintenance requirements and real-time data, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As experts on slurry technology, our in-house innovations ensure optimal and safe water extraction and reuse in dewatering processes. Our extensive knowledge about soft sediments, slurry transport and rheology has allowed us to develop several unique technologies for water management and the beneficial reuse of tailings to create circular solutions.
By combining all our different fields of expertise and having offices and representation in all the major mining regions, we are able to offer a variety of bespoke tailings solutions.
More information on these tailings solutions can be found here
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