April 20, 2018, London, UK – Regional Manager Richard Elmer closed the first day of the Geometallurgy 2018 conference with his talk entitled: “Filtered Tailings for Small Scale Mines.” Held on April 19-20 in London, the conference, which was aimed at increasing the understanding and sustainable extraction of mineral assets, brought together specialists from academia and industrial research institutes, practitioners from operating mines, consultants and contractors, as well as industry bodies.
The presentation showed low capital cost ways of dewatering tailings to produce filter cake that can be used to engineer landforms that are sympathetic with the landscape in environmentally sensitive areas as an alternative to conventional slurry tailings stored behind confining embankments. The talk detailed the application of geotextile assisted dewatering using geobags, giving a current example of a small UK gold mine where the system is in use. The presentation also described the use of geobags in small-scale, high-grade, narrow vein deposits, where mined out underground space can be used to store tailings without the need for high capital expenditure paste plants. The talk produced some interesting questions on the environmental impact of tailings storage, followed by lively debate at a pub after the close of the conference for the day.