Mining Tailings Landscape

WaterShed Tailings Dewatering Technology

WaterShed technology allows our customers a higher degree of operational flexibility and significantly lower start-up costs than a traditional tailings management solution. It does not require a heavy physical footprint or a large capital investment that would be required by a paste thickener or twin belt filter press. Typically, WaterShed technology is directly injected into the refuse slurry line in a specified sequence prior to discharge to improve tailings dewatering. This will allow you to reduce your capital expenditure, improve mechanical stability, extend tailings storage facility life, manage water balance, and meet effluent water quality requirements.

How Does WaterShed Compare to Other Tailings Management Solutions?

Slurry cells can limit the overall pace of production, as only a limited number of cells can be built and filled simultaneously. It takes time to fill a cell, and even longer for deposited solids to dewater so that a cell can be covered to create space for a new layer in the same tailings impoundment. There are few alternatives to refuse impoundments and the slow solids densification of a typical slurry cell.  Some of the alternatives include filtration using a twin-belt filter press, vacuum filtration, and others. While these options can ease tailings management issues and prolong the capacity of a tailings storage facility, they have significant drawbacks, including high capital start-up costs, labor and maintenance costs, and limited operational flexibility.  

WaterShed optimizes conditions to allow for rapid drying and tailings consolidation, which accelerates water recovery and results in dry, stable tailings. By rapidly separating process water from tailings for conservation and reuse, WaterShed enables a mine to maintain safer tailings disposal practices, more cost-effective processes, and less water-intensive operations.

Cracked Quarry Landscape

 A Customized WaterShed Program

Nalco Water can help you develop an effective and innovative tailings management and water recovery strategy with a customized WaterShed program designed to:

  • More efficient tailings management
  • Rapid response to changing conditions
  • Lower capital cost
  • Minimal maintenance and operating costs
  • Reduced environmental footprint
  • Rapid water recovery and return to processing operations
  • More and cleaner water, faster

“Staying on Top of Tailings” – Nalco Water Featured in Global Mining Review

Keith Gibbs, resident expert on tailings management for Nalco Water, explores the opportunities to leverage a tailings dam as an asset rather than a liability.  The article demonstrates that an optimized tailings management program can deliver a number of environmental and economic benefits, as well as improve the safety of the tailings storage facility.