New mining technologies can exploit low-grade ores but they produce high volumes of waste, such as tailings. Further, current mineral processing techniques produce more and more fine tailings. How to dispose of these tailings is a key issue in the sustainable operation of a mine. A traditional method is to construct a settling or tailings pond for storage. Such a method requires sufficient coarse particles to raise a dam or embankment. However, the fine tailings contain little coarse particles and have poor mechanical properties. The stability of a tailings dam thus becomes a major issue if the traditional method is used. According to statistical data, all fine tailings dams or ponds in China have failed or have failure potential. Therefore, fine tailings disposal is a challenge to mine operators and new disposal methods should be explored for the stability improvement of tailings dams. In this paper, an innovative method of reinforced terraced fields is presented to satisfy the specific requirement of fine tailings disposal. By using an actual mine, this paper reports in detail the design concept and procedures for this method. Its feasibility is evaluated and its fundamental are analyzed.
Wei, Z., Yin, G., Li, G., Wang, J-G., Wan, L., & Shen, L. (2009). Reinforced terraced fields method for fine tailings disposal. Minerals Engineering, 22(12), 1053-1059. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mineng.2009.03.014