The Problem with Traditional Methods
Traditional tailings deposition tests require large volumes of samples – in most cases more than two or three cubic meters of thickened tailings. Producing such large volume of tailings requires large quantities of sample, pilot scale grinding, flotation, and thickening operations. Not only is this expensive, it makes it very difficult to study the variability of tailings discharge parameters over a range of different ore zones, mineralogical conditions, or grind sizes. This usually translates into larger and more expensive safety factors.
The MiniFlume Test
The deposition and rheology test is performed in a small open channel flume. High precision instruments are used to measure the deposition profile as a function of time to develop a slurry rheogram (additionally measured using the lab viscosimeter). The results of the test are scaled to predict the profiling behavior for tailings storage facilities. The testing method, interpretation, and scale-up are performed by Dr. Gordon McPhail (SLR Consulting).
To date the MiniFlume test has been calibrated with 18 samples from South American, North American, and European tailings facilities.
As Presented in Paste 2014!
The new test allows our clients, for the first time, to test for ore body variability of tailings deposition parameters. Due to the low volume requirements of the test (around 60 kg), tailings samples can be produced using much smaller equipment and procedures, normally on a more controlled laboratory scale. This means we can now generate deposition information for each ore type, time frame, or geographic zone in the deposit. You can design your deposition system to have just the right amount of flexibility to handle the changing ore characteristics. Understanding the actual deposition variability will give you confidence in the engineering and allow for an improved determination of the appropriate design factors.