Phillip Fawell | CSIRO Mineral Resources
Theme: Step changes in the characterization, extraction and processing of material in the production of tailings volume
Project title: Advanced prediction and optimisation of tailings suspension properties as delivered to TSFs
Offering to sponsors:
A new approach to modelling aggregation and dewatering that maximises predictive outputs from real feeds from limited testing.
Current dewatering test procedures give (at best) adequate predictions of downstream behaviour for the tailings studied, but little or no scope for useful prediction of responses when the particle size distribution (PSD) of the feed changes.
Using a novel mathematical approach identified by CSIRO and the University of Western Australia, the project will develop a new modelling tool that in combination with smarter PSD characterization, providing a step-change in accuracy of predicted settling rates and rheology for broad PSDs. Strategies for then maximizing dewatering will be explored with this tool and validated in full-scale trials. As a consequence:
- Impacts of upstream flowsheet variations (sorting, grinding, alternative lixiviants) will be better quantified when limited sample is available.
- Mine sites will be able to model ‘what if’ scenarios for feed variations in a timely manner.
- Efficiencies in tailings dewatering unit operations will be identified that enhance the properties of streams delivered to TSFs (e.g. higher solids without a penalty in rheology).
Benefit to industry:
- Downstream improvements and efficiencies in dewatering
- More efficient water recovery; reduced volumes and more stable streams to TSFs
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