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Reducing Water Management Risks Through Processing Changes

Adrian Dance, Chris Kennedy, Soren Jensen
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
First presented: 
Conference of Metallurgists 2014
Published paper

Traditionally, mineral processing plants are designed to achieve the highest recovery of valuable material with limited regard for the cost of managing waste products—both solid and water components. As an industry, we are confronting ever more stringent environmental standards and lower grade deposits requiring more intensive processing. The most profitable processing route can, in fact lead to costly issues downstream. Issues or risks associated with waste management include water treatment and handling and storage of potentially acid generating material. The capital and operating costs of dealing with these issues are significant and should be considered as a consequence of plant design and optimisation. The authors of this paper are involved with a number of projects where process operation changes offer opportunities to mitigate risks associated with water and waste management. Examples of these changes will be discussed along with the estimated benefits to the value of the project and reduction of long-term environmental risks. Process changes include 1) the application of in-plant water treatment as opposed to dealing with the entire tailings management facility and 2) the potential to reduce metal leaching and acid rock drainage through the preferential liberation of carbonate minerals in the grinding process.


Feature Author

Adrian Dance
With over 25 years in his field, Adrian has both industrial and consulting experience, working at operations in Australia, Canada and Peru. Recently, Adrian has established himself as an authority in comminution circuit operation and practices a proven methodology in gaining improvements from “Mine-to-Mill” optimisation projects. Adrian has spent most of his career working with existing operations to gain added efficiency. With SRK, he is now providing similar expertise to green or brownfield sites to get similar benefits very early in the mine life, in particular, the development of mill forecasting models embedded in the resource/geological block model, or geometallurgical modelling.
Plant Optimization Specialist
PhD in Mineral Processing
SRK Vancouver
SRK Africa