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After thickening most mineral tailings are transported as slurry to a designated storage area, usually a slimes dam, tailings pond or impoundment area. In some cases tailings are used as mine back fill or in the rehabilitation of a surface mine. Recent advances in tailings management have focused on thickening the tailings prior to deposition. This approach is typically referred to as “thickened tailings” or “sloped deposition”. These systems rely on thickened slurry being deposited in relatively thin layers on a sloped bed to allow consolidation via both gravity drainage and solar drying.
Over the past decade significant advances have been made in the technology associated with thickening dilute slurries, thickeners have become more efficient and flocculants more effective and the production of high density pastes is now possible with the developments in the mechanical systems that can both produce and pump high density material, these advances have aided the development of thickened tailings making the whole process more affordable.
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