Case Study 2
Tailings cover trial underway
Construction of three trial tailings encapsulation systems kicked off in September, putting Century on track to achieve its 2013 rehabilitation plan.
Developed in consultation with industry experts in tailings management and encapsulation, each trial cover system is about 75 metres by 75 metres and about three metres in depth.
The cover system trial will be used to determine which permanent encapsulation system is most appropriate for long-term storage of the Century tailings.
Tailings are encapsulated to limit the potential for environmental impact by:
- Preventing salts from rising through the cover, and harming the surrounding eco-system;
- Preventing rainwater from seeping down into the tailings; and
- Supporting the establishment of a sustainable cover of native vegetation.
- Once constructed each trial cover system will be monitored using specialist instrumentation.
Data collected from the trial will then be evaluated by external experts and MMG to determine the most suitable permanent encapsulation system for north-west Queensland conditions and the Century tailings.
MMG is also conducting a study to determine the potential to economically produce zinc metal from the Century tailings.
What are tailings?
The term tailings describes a residue of process water and metals that could not be extracted from ore during minerals processing. At Century, once processing is complete, the tailings are pumped into the tailings storage facility (TSF) – a specially-designed containment dam covering about 340 hectares.
Visit the Transition webpage for more information and case studies about Century’s Transition.