Atico Mining commissions dry stack facility

Upgrading the tailings facility to produce dry stack tailings reduces water use.
Atico Mining commissions dry stack facility Atico Mining commissions dry stack facility Atico Mining commissions dry stack facility Atico Mining commissions dry stack facility Atico Mining commissions dry stack facility

The integrated tailings dewatering plant produces dry stack tailings.

Vancouver-based gold mining company Atico Mining has commissioned its Integrated tailings dewatering plant at its El Roble gold and copper mine in Colombia.

The plant was commissioned in August 2021 and has been operational for four months. The plant dewaters mine waste to create dry stack tailings, and has a 1,200 tonne-per-day capacity.

Responsible Mining Solutions, also Vancouver-based, developed the tailings facility.

The tailings facility includes a pipeline extension from the mill and processing facilities, as well as a filter plant, tankage for slurry, process water, filtrate, and effluent management, and a motor control centre.

It also includes a reagent handling plant, and a vacuum filter, as well as a filter-cake chute, a transfer weigh-conveyor, and incline stacking conveyor. Atico Mining has also installed a filter-cake load-out and truck station.

The ceramic disc vacuum filter does the primary separation of tailings solids and liquids, which leads to 80% in savings of total energy consumption compared to traditional methods, Atico said.

The industry has been pushed to improve its tailings facilities by a variety of organisations, including the International Council on Mining and Metals.

Upgrading the tailings facility to produce dry stack tailings also reduces water use. The process recycles 75% of mill process water, with no water lost via seepage and evaporation. This also allows Atico to lower its reliance on freshwater resources, Atico said.

In the September quarter of 2021, El Roble produced 4.43 million pounds of copper and 2,978 ounces of gold. This marked a 20% decline in copper production and a 14% increase in gold production year-on-year. Copper declines were caused by a decline in head grade, Atico said.