Sustainable water use and smart tailings management can cut both risks and costs for miners. The elimination of wet tailings dams and the re-use of process water minimises environmental risks associated with mining, cuts complexity and helps mining companies attain a social licence to operate.
As ore grades decline, more water is needed to process more material just to keep up with production rates. This creates more water use and tailings to manage. The result is greater environmental impact and footprint and higher costs both for water sourcing in areas of scarcity and for tailings management, which often continues past mine closure.
So, is it possible for you to lessen water consumption in your mine without compromising productivity? The short answer is yes. But it requires creative thinking and challenging the old mining processes to reach that answer.
The AFP2525 Automatic Filter Press, for instance, allows miners to recycle and reuse a significant amount water in their operations. As a result, the high-efficiency, large-capacity, dewatering equipment both reduces the need for freshwater intake and cuts costs for the mine site.
The AFP2525, one of FLSmidth leading filtration offerings, achieves 93% availability and up to 95% recovery of process water. This combination of filtering speed and reliability results in the industry’s lowest product moisture per kW. In a typical mine operating at over 21,000 tonnes a day, a filter installation will recover enough process water to fill six Olympic swimming pools every 24 hours.
The AFP2525 filter is easy to maintain, which means costly downtime is minimised. Secondly, the filter is very efficient and operates at high capacity – i.e., it maximises water recovery and is suitable for large-scale mines. Additionally, fast filtration rates and short mechanical times minimise the filter cycle time; this combination of speed and reliability result in the lowest cost per tonne in the industry.
The digital boosters
A combination of equipment sensors, instrumentation and automated control systems can enhance the dewatering process. These solutions range from flocculant addition in thickeners to condition monitoring of pumps, thickener rakes and filter presses.
Automated filter presses
Highlights from MINExpo 2021
Every mine site has unique considerations, whether it be high fresh water costs, permitting, stability issues or seismic activity. Todd Wisdom’s (Global Director of Tailings) presentation looks at how we can determine the tailings solution that’s right for your unique mining conditions and local regulations. Our focus is on finding innovative techniques that minimise the risks, make use of economies of scale and deliver a valued return on investment. These include the largest capacity filter presses, our large-scale co-mingling and dry stacking solution, thickened tailings solutions, paste and back-fill, sand dam tailings and more.