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A Step Change in Dry Stack Tailings – Our Challenge

Cameron Hore
Sunday, March 1, 2020
First presented: 
Austmine water & waste management ebook
Published paper
Mine Waste
Too often, dry stacking or filtered tailings management is dismissed early in the alternatives assessment process due to the high production rates of many projects.
Broadly, the consideration of tailings filtration and dry stacking is becoming more common, as mining operators seek to align with stated best practices. Changes in risk awareness and risk tolerance are encouraging mining companies and stakeholders to seek alternatives to conventional deposition and dry stacked tailings is often considered a safer, lower risk solution. At the same time, technologies are also catching up to deliver cost savings at economies of scale. However, a singular criterium - high production rate - is often unnecessarily eliminating dry stackings as a viable option, well before the necessary thinking is done on how it might be effectively employed and costed on a project.
The challenges faced by some existing operators have fuelled the reputation that dry stacking is complex, expensive and operationally intensive, even though these issues are often simple to solve. Dry stacking is a proven alternative for tailings management at production rates of up to 30,000 tonnes per day (tpd). However, to have a real impact on the mining industry and community at large, our challenge is to achieve a step change in dry stacking that enables production rates of 100,000 tpd and beyond.

Feature Author

Cameron Hore
Cameron Hore has more than eight years’ experience as a geotechnical consultant specialising in tailings and waste management and heap leach facility engineering. Cameron has experience with projects from across the globe encompassing a wide variety of commodities, climates and tailings disposal methods including dry stacking. He has been involved in studies from greenfields site selection through to construction and closure design. His responsibilities included client liaison, site selection studies, feasibility and detailed designs, risk assessments, audits, site inspections, evaluation of methods of disposal, material characterisation, geotechnical investigations, stability analyses, seepage analyses and water balances. Cameron has prepared design and construction documentation and delivered technical presentations for clients, conferences and training workshops.
CPEng P.Eng
SRK Perth
SRK Africa