Tailings

Mining dams pose a substantial risk, and residue management clearly needs to change. Alfa Laval is leading that transformation. The robust design and large capacity of our solid-bowl decanter centrifuges have proven the perfect solution for safe and secure dewatering of mine tailings. The small footprint substantially reduces installation space. The consistency of the solids fraction is perfect for co-disposal or dry stacking. And you recover large volumes of water for reuse.

Ensuring a fast, continuous process for safe, clean and efficient solid-liquid separation

  • High capacity and separation efficiency with optimal solids dryness
  • Long working life
  • Designed for high-density sludge
  • Compact design and small installation area
  • Easy to scale-up capacities from test results
The proven design and performance of Alfa Laval solid bowl centrifuges are based on decades of research and development in challenging solid-liquid separation applications. In Australia, it has a particular focus on coal, copper, iron ore, gold, nickel and uranium tailings. The unique bowl geometries, exceptional solids handling rates and robust design combine to set new standards in mining tailings management. Alfa Laval solid bowl centrifuges are wear-resistant, made with high-grade materials to withstand harsh environment of erosion and corrosion. Its 1000mm machines offer with very large capacity, up to 80 dry tonnes per hour, specifically designed for heavy duties in mining and mineral processing.

How it works

Alfa Laval solid bowl centrifuges are specifically designed to separate slurries in mining and mineral processing into a solid phase and liquid phases. Separation takes place in a horizontal cylindrical bowl equipped with a scroll conveyor. The product is led into the bowl through a stationary inlet tube and is then smoothly accelerated in a full-flow feed zone design. Centrifugal forces of up to 3,500 G make the solids accumulate on the inner surface of the bowl. Alfa Laval offers solid bowl centrifuges with very large capacity (up to 80 dry tonnes per hour) specifically designed for heavy duties. 

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Get a quote or find out more about our solid bowl centrifuge trial unit

A centrifuge trial allows to you determine parameters such as:

  • Moisture in the cake
  • Centrate clarity
  • Determine scalable capacity
  • Detailed assessment how this technology can work in practice for your specific facility

Get pricing

 

Contact Alfa Laval Australia for our design for a full scale skid mounted solid bowl centrifuge which is ideally suited for trials as well as an interim solution for sites where tailing dams are reaching capacity.

 

 

 

Tailings dewatering - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the topic of tailings management receiving so much attention?

Tailings management is in the spotlight as mining companies are balancing growing demand for minerals with slimmer operating margins and greater calls for risk management and sustainability.

With depleting ore reserves the quantity of tailings generated is increasing. In 2010 alone the industry generated around 14 billion tonnes of mine tailings and it is estimated that there are around 3,500 Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs) around the world.  

What is the recommended approach for tailings management?

The framework for tailings management considers key development pillars: technological, economic, environmental, policy and social aspects. It incorporates tools for determining trade-offs inherent in different tailings management methods during operation and throughout the life of mine which include Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Net Present Value (NPV), Decision Analysis, and others.

The design and management of a TSF requires a multi-disciplinary approach as it involves civil and environmental engineering, geology, hydrology, geochemistry, mechanical engineering, process engineering and mine planning.

What are the most cost effective technology solutions available for tailings dewatering?

The key evaluation criteria that mining and mineral processing companies consider while selecting tailings dewatering technologies are:

  • Consistency of dewatered solids – preferably dry, stackable
  • Clarity of filtrate/centrate for recovery and reuse
  • Sound operating economy

Solid bowl centrifuges compare favourably in all three categories.

Can mine operators move away completely from tailings storage with tailings dewatering?

As solid bowl centrifuges have evolved in capacity and throughput, the ranks of mining companies aiming to eliminate TSFs completely with full scale deployments is growing quickly.

For example Australian mining company Bloomfield is moving away from tailings storage with Alfa Laval solid bowl centrifuges. However tailings dewatering can also be an interim solution for sites where tailing dams are reaching capacity. Contact Alfa Laval Australia for more information of our full scale skid mounted SBC solution.

What are the sustainability benefits of tailings dewatering?

Water scarcity brings sustainability to the forefront and water management is also critical for maintaining community support and social license to operate. Considering the arid nature of the Australian continent, it doesn’t come as a surprise that local mining companies are well advanced when it comes to seeking more efficient ways to dewater their tailings and re-use the process water in their processing plant.

Solid bowl centrifuges allow to re-capture up to 90 per cent of the water, as the centrifuge separates the fine solids using G-forces from the contaminated process water. The solids are discharged as a cake with a low moisture content that can be dry-stacked, and used for mine rehabilitation in a similar fashion to overburden and coarse rejects.

 

 

From the coal face

How to manage tailings storage facilities (TSF) is an ongoing challenge for Australia’s mining and minerals industry, from a risk mitigation and cost point of view. Alfa Laval Australia Mining Engineer, Hamid Foroush, explains how solid bowl centrifuge technology has evolved over time to provide an economically and technologically superior solution to dewater tailings and recover process water.

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