Tailings and Mine Waste Conference

Efficient and environmentally sustainable tailings treatment and storage by geosynthetic dewatering tubes : working principles and talvivaara case study Wilke, Markus; Breytenbach, Morné; Reunanen, Jarmo; Hilla, Veli-Matti


The most common management practice for mining residuals (e.g. tailings, contaminated process byproducts, etc.) is pond storage (Zinck, 2013). Alternatively, mine slurries can be managed by geosynthetic dewatering tubes. This treatment option combines several process phases. By pumping the conditioned slurry into a geosynthetic element the liquid and solids are separated. Due to the permeable dewatering fabric the water is able to drain through the system while the solid particles are retained. In comparison to other dewatering techniques the higher process capacity and the lower investment and maintenance costs are remarkable. Furthermore the dewatered material can be permanently stored within the tube which could create operational advantages. The paper is intended to illustrate the basic working principles of the geosynthetic dewatering tube system in general. Moreover it will show the environmentally sustainable and efficient implementation of the previously described system to the water balance and management system of the Talvivaara Mine in Finland. As Europe’s largest nickel mine Talvivaara produces a large volume of gypsum slurry as process byproduct. This originates from the bio-heap leaching method used for metal recovery.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International