Associated Events

Paterson & Cooke Mine Backfill – Design and Operation Course

6 May 2019 | Ballroom, The Westin | Cape Town, South Africa

The one day backfill course will introduce the fundamental concepts of geomechanics and material properties that
underpin decision-making when developing a backfill design. The course will examine the various elements that go into engineering and operating a backfill system,including plant/process design, underground reticulation design and backfill management planning.

Click to view the programme (subject to change)
Welcome and introduction
Backfill study stages and testingStudy levels – scoping, pre-feasibility to feasibility
Pros and cons of paste and hydraulic fill
Backfill testing programs
Sizing a plant and utilisation factors
Backfill system designDesign criteria
Equipment selection
Case studies/various examplesDesign pitfalls
Pipeline distribution system hydraulicsBackground
Hydraulic backfill versus paste backfill flow
Design requirements
Case study – pipeline wearPipeline wear experience
Backfill placement and monitoring considerationsStrength requirements
Advances in pour monitoring
Rise rates and pressures
Backfill system managementScheduling
Wrap-upQuestions and discussion

ACG Is the Future Filtered? Paste and Thickened Tailings Short Course

7 May 2019 | Ballroom, The Westin | Cape Town, South Africa

Thickening of mine tailings is now going beyond the use of large, deep thickeners and addressing a new challenge – filtration of tailings to produce a low water content material that should pose much lower environmental and safety risks than most conventional TSFs. Tailings filtration provides many potential benefits, including improved water recovery and the ability to deposit and compact the filtered tailings to form a stable, engineered landform. However, there are also many concerns and potential pitfalls in adopting a filtered tailings management system, including high capital costs, equipment reliability, clogging of filter cloths, appropriate wash systems and optimisation of placement techniques. Although in the past it has been considered unachievable, large-volume filtered tailings operations are beginning to emerge and there are already a number of operational facilities dealing with medium volume (to the order of 20 ktonne/day) throughputs.

Given the increasing scrutiny of the mining industry and its relatively poor record with regards to mine tailings management, increased requirements to minimise water usage (often accompanied by very high costs of water) and the need to demonstrate achievable long-term closure strategies, it is likely that the option of a filtered tailings system will need to be considered in many operations in future.
It has therefore been decided to dedicate a short course to this topic to provide practitioners and decision-makers with as much information as possible, as early as possible.

Drawing on experiences from a number of operational filtered tailings facilities, the short course will discuss available technologies,
appropriate test programmes to determine relevant design parameters, operational challenges and cost comparisons.

Designers, consultants, owners and operators, mine planners, regulators and researchers would all benefit from attending this short course, which will provide a valuable opportunity to examine a rapidly growing technology that is likely to see increased adoption in the future.

Click to view the preliminary programme (subject to change)

07:30Course Registration
08:20Welcome and introduction Professor Andy Fourie, The University of Western Australia
08:30Solid liquid separation - Old technologies applied to new applications: Fundamentals of tailings filtration technologies Wilfried Wimmler, Innovative Filtration Solutions Pty Ltd, Australia
09:00Filtered taillings experience at Skorpion zinc mine: Design and 15 years of operation Andrew Copeland, Knight Piésold (Pty) Ltd, South Africa
09:30Filter-pressed Dry-stacking: Alternative tailings management approaches Colleen Crystal, SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc., Canada
10:00Morning Break
10:30Large scale filtered tailings: Saving costs and improving safety Todd Wisdom, FLSmidth, USA
11:00Filtered taillings for all: Case histories for value in small operations Scott O'Brien, McLanahan Corporation, USA
11:30Geotechnical considerations Professor Andy Fourie, The University of Western Australia, Australia
12:00 Lunch
13:00Filter applications in mine backfilling Rob Brown, Paterson & Cooke Canada, Canada
13:302016 Luoyang, China: Tailings storage failure Dr David Reid, The University of Western Australia, Australia
14:00Dry stacks: How dry is dry? Bryan Ulrich, Stantec Consulting Services Inc., USA
14:30Afternoon Break
15:00Transitioning to no tailings dam for a coal washing plant Amol Chinchankar, Alfa Laval, Sweden
15:20Dry stacking at every latitude Andrea Grosso, Aqseptance Group Srl, Italy
15:40What is the ideal method to dewater tailings? Christophe Bellot, Weir Minerals B.V., The Netherlands
16:30Course Close



Andrew Copeland
Technical Director Mining
Knight Piésold (Pty) Ltd.

Presentation: Filtered tailings experience at Skorpion zinc mine – design and 15 years of operation

Andrew is a director of KP RSA and a technical director mining (non-statutory): KP Africa at Knight Piésold’s Head Office (Rivonia). He has had extensive exposure to international mining industry and to the full chain of mining activities and project stages. Andrew is a technical specialist in the area of mineral residue management and has a thorough understanding of the associated infrastructure, environmental, social and economic aspects, including paste and thickened tailings. He has substantial experience in civil geo-technics, heap leach facilities and mine infrastructure. Andrew has also written guidelines and standards for mine residue facilities and carried out numerous audits around the world.


Colleen Crystal
Principal Consultant
SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc., Canada

Presentation: Filter-pressed dry-stacking: Alternative tailings management approaches

Colleen Crystal, PEng, is a Principal Consultant with SRK engineering with over 23 years of experience in geotechnical engineering and seismic analysis and design for earthen embankments, landfills, mine-waste tailings and waste rock facilities and water retention dams. Ms. Crystal is the geotechnical lead for the siting, design, construction and operations of several recent filter-pressed dry-stack storage facilities in high seismic risk areas including the El Escobal silver mine in Guatemala and the Buritica Gold Mine in Medellin, Colombia. For these and other waste management facilities she has managed the preparation of PFS/FS and trade-off studies as well as providing detailed design plans and specifications, surface water management plans, OMS manuals, risk assessments and Risk Management Plans in conformance with current international standards of good practice.


Professor Andy Fourie
Professor of Civil and Mining Engineering
The University of Western Australia, Australia

Andy is a Professor in the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at The University of Western Australia in Perth.
He has Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, and a PhD from Imperial College, University of London. He has worked at the University of Queensland, the University of Witwatersrand and has been a visiting professor at the University of Alberta, the Catholic University of Valparaiso in Chile and the University of Colorado in Boulder. His research is in the field of mitigating the impact of mining and municipal solid waste disposal. Outcomes from his research have been incorporated in changes to environmental legislation in South Africa. He contributed to a series of Guidelines for managing mine tailings in Australia, as well as developing a document for the International Atomic Energy Association on barrier systems for retaining uranium mining waste.


Scott O’Brien
McLanahan Corporation, USA

Presentation: Filtered tailings for all: case histories for value in small operations



Rob Brown

Paterson & Cooke Canada, Canada

Presentation: Filter applications in mine backfilling

Rob Brown is the Principal of Paterson & Cooke’s Sudbury, Ontario practice, a Director of P&C (UK) Ltd. and is the President of Paterson & Cooke Canada Inc. Rob leads P&C’s global backfill group and has worked on backfill and surface paste tailings applications since 1997. He specializes in paste fill and has extensive international experience with plant/reticulation design and construction, commissioning, training and underground backfill placement. Much of his career has been spent in the field starting up new backfill operations, troubleshooting existing systems or running contracted backfill projects. Rob is a Professional Mining Engineer and frequently participates in system audits and peer reviews as a Subject Matter Expert. He has authored several technical papers and operating manuals covering the safe design and operation of paste backfill systems.


Dr David Reid
Research Fellow
The University of Western Australia, Australia

Presentation: 2016 Luoyang, China: tailings storage failure

The University of Western Australia, School of Civil, Environmental, and Mining Engineering
David is a tailings engineer with 14 years’ experience in the design, laboratory testing, investigation, and analysis of tailings and tailings storage facilities. He is primarily involved in laboratory and in situ characterisation of tailings with respect to strength, consolidation, and liquefaction. David completed a PhD from The University of Western Australia, which involved studying the properties of polymer-treated tailings and the use of centrifuges to perform consolidation testing. In November 2017, David joined the UWA’s School of Civil, Environmental, and Mining Engineering for an ARC Linkage project focussed on static liquefaction of tailings.


Bryan Ulrich
Vice President, Geotechnical
Stantec Consulting Services Inc., USA

Presentation: Dry stacks: How dry is dry?

Bryan is a geotechnical engineer with more than 30 years of experience with engineering, project management, design and construction, analysis, closure and site investigations of mining-related work. He has participated in all aspects associated with the design of tailings and heap leach facilities. Bryan has been involved in numerous filtered tailings facility designs. He has three engineering degrees in unrelated fields. He spent four very productive years in South Africa, where he met Andy Fourie, who became one of his life-long mentors.


Wilfried Wimmler
Managing Director
Innovative Filtration Solutions Pty Ltd, Australia

Wilfried graduated as an engineer in Austria and gained experience in filtration and dewatering through various applications, including domestic, industrial and ceramic, throughout Europe. He migrated to Australia in 1991 and held various roles in the industry, most times self-employed as an equipment supplier and contractor to large mining companies such as ANGLO Coal and BHP. He established a joint venture with Ishigaki Japan and for 12 years, was managing director of Ishigaki Oceania and represented the unique LASTA FILTER presses in the mining industry. He now operates his own filtration solutions and consulting company serving the industry in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.  


Todd Wisdom
Director Tailings Solutions
FLSmidth, USA

Presentation: Large scale filtered tailings: saving costs and improving safety

Todd is the director of tailings soutions for FLSmidth Todd has a Master of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering and joined FLS in 1993. He is currently leading FLS into the large tonnage tailings solutions market which includes the dewatering, conveying, and placement of filtered tailings.



Supplier Presentations:

Amol Chinchankar

Alfa Laval, Sweden

Transitioning to no tailings dam for a coal washing plant

Click to view the abstract

 A member of the Bloomfield Group of Companies, Rix’s Creek South is an open cut mining operation that produces both thermal coal and high quality semi-soft coking coal for overseas and domestic customers. Located 5 km northwest of Singleton in New South Wales, it is based in the heart of the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s largest coal mining regions.
Rix’s Creek South had a vision to address their existing tailings issues and had recognised for some time that a suitable dry tailings disposal method had to be found. The existing tailings dam used on site was nearing capacity and there were no suitable alternative sites for a replacement dam.
Within this operational context, they set out to find the best solution for dewatering thickener tailings at Rix’s Creek South.
There was a device that had become an industry standard. Rix’s Creek South wanted to see if there was something better than the industry standard to handle tailings containing high levels of clays.
Four different technologies were trialled at pilot plant scale on-site for dewatering their thickener tailings from their Coal Handling and Preparation Plant. Eventually the Alfa Laval Solid Bowl Centrifuge was selected based on the outcomes of the trials.
Three Alfa Laval 720mm Solid Bowl Centrifuges were installed at Rix’s Creek South to handle part of the tailings flow. In 2018, two more new larger Solid Bowl Centrifuges were installed to handle the total volume of thickener underflow. This new installation will remove the need for a new tailings dam when the existing dam capacity runs out.
This paper will outline the process results and decision making that drove Rix’s Creek South over a few years to install Solid Bowl Centrifuges.

Andrea Grosso

Senior Process Engineer, Aqseptance Group Srl, Italy

Dry stacking at every latitude

Click to view the abstract

The mining industry is becoming increasingly attracted by tailing dry stacking, a mine tails storage method that presents many advantages. Dry stacking can be implemented at any latitude and in geographical zones with very different climatic conditions (such as humid, arid, glacial or tropical climates, and with abundance or shortage of water to be used in the productive process). Diemme® Filtration Filter presses can grant very high levels of cake dryness. In order to have the best equipment selection and sizing, as well as the optimal outcome in terms of performances and costs, a thorough process testing and analysis is essential. Every single case should be studied in depth by means of target definition, characterization of the material using different physico-chemical analytical techniques, laboratory-scale filtration tests and possibly pilot-scale campaigns. The paper will show a series of actual case studies that prove the effectiveness of dry stacking at any latitude.

Christophe Bellot

Global Product Manager Isodry, Weir Minerals B.V., The Netherlands

What’s the ideal method to dewater tailings

Click to view the abstract

Weir Minerals has developed an expert global in-house tailings group in order to share the best methods in dealing with tailings. Weir Minerals is very active in the tailings field and has an equipment range that suits any tailings solutions (pumps for slurry: Warman, high solids transportation: Geho, valves: Delta/Isogate, Hydrocyclones: Cavex, Dewatering screens: Enduron, Linatex, the range of IsoDRY equipment (thickeners, filters, centrifuges) and dewatering pumps: Multiflo
This complete portfolio enables Weir Minerals to integrate solid/liquid separation and transportation. We present to customers a complete solution from thickening, dewatering, solids transportation, water recovery, stacking, tailing storage facility. The overall solution should always be evaluated, and the best solution is not always the cheapest CAPEX nor the highest dryness, even if this means a higher outlay cost to set up the tailings.
In the presentation, we will present several flow sheets with possible solutions as well as their pro and cons

1. Traditional thickening method; however, with a pre-feed cyclone. Cyclone overflow reports to the thickener whilst the underflow reports to a dewatering screen. The thickener underflow is combined with the dewatering screen product to create an overall higher solids concentration for final disposal. This method reduces the loading on the thickener and improves the overall disposal solids content albeit using the commonly used thickening method. Transport to tailings storage where coarse material is used to build the dam walls and the overflow reports to the pond for future recovery.

2. Paste thickener with pipeline transportation, automation of the complete system to guarantee the highest solid content.
The combination of a paste thickener and a positive displacement pump is the easiest method to dispose of slurry without free water. In this operation the automation by advanced process control and management of pumps is a must.
The pilot pipe loop test is also needed to find the optimum between solid content and pressure drop in pipe line.

3. Centrifuge versus chamber filter press for truck disposal and TSF reduction. Our customer requires a material dry enough to be truck transported; the target dry solid content is 70%. A low-priced Capex is an critical driver. Decanter centrifuge is a better choice when compared to a low-pressure chamber filter press. It can produce a cake dry enough for truck transportation, compete on the CAPEX side, be lower on OPEX and accept the variation of underflow density of the manual thickener.

4. High pressure filter press for highest possible dryness and reduced install power.
Filter press is the best machine to achieve the highest dryness needed for dry stacking. We will present the various methods of filtration and their comparison from chamber press to 25bars filtration pressure.

Click here to view the list of companies that attended this course in 2018, with more than 50 attendees.

Interested in hosting a workshop/short course to accompany the Paste 2019 Conference? Click here for more details.