An Alternative to Conventional Tailings Disposal

Thickened Tailings Disposal (TTD) was introduced by Dr. Eli Robinsky in 1968 to reduce the negative environmental impact that may be associated with the more conventional, or traditional, approach to mine tailings disposal. A dense to very dense deposit of stored tailings that safely resist the forces of nature and human interaction while significantly increasing recovery of mill water for continued reuse. A primary aim of TMS is to create progressively reclaimed components of the tailings management system across the life of the operation.

Thickened Tailings Management System      Conventional Disposal

Philosophical Difference Between Conventional Disposal and the TMS

In the conventional system the properties of tailings are fixed by the process plant and all confining dykes and "control structures" in the disposal area must be engineered to withstand the forces and conditions imposed by nature.

The TMS takes an entirely different approach.

In the TMS the properties of tailings and their placement are engineered to suit the unstructured natural topography , and socio-environmental setting of the management area, a much safer and more friendly approach to the environment. See Publication List.

Items to Consider in Cost Comparisons

The cost of installing additional thickening required for a TMS involves primarily the acquisition of "off the shelf" thickening and delivery equipment. Equipment that has undergone significant technological improvements and cost reductions over the last 10 to 15 years. This buys an essentially "engineered" management system that is effective in minimizing terraforming and that can be progressively reclaimed, as mining continues,costs and impact resulting in lower cost solution for closure.

Whereas the use of a conventional system may require large expensive dams, larger discharge and recycle pipelines and pumping installations, high operating costs in repositioning spigot lines, and dam raising operations. Finally, the conventional system with its large superimposed liquid pond requires significant expenditures in order to be safely reclaimed in a suitable manner suitable to all agencies and stakeholderand deliverys.

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