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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: March 7th 2002

:: Ciba Specialty Chemicals Introduces Revolutionary New Tailings Management Process for Mining Industry  

-New process offers significant economic, operational and environmental benefits over conventional tailings pond management-

Ciba Specialty Chemicals has patented a new thickened clay technology for tailings management that delivers significant benefits to the tailings process of mining operations. The Ciba® TCTTM Tailings Management Solution, is a process by which thickened clay is sent to the tailings ponds, thereby extending the life of each pond and requiring fewer ponds over time. This results in a huge savings for mining companies that utilize tailings ponds. The process also offers both operational and environmental benefits.

How it Works
Ciba's patented TCT process routes the tailings from a mine's processing plant to a mixing pit. Here the tailings are diluted and flocculated. The solids are rapidly separated and clarified water is returned to the plant for reuse. Meanwhile, the flocculated solids settle to the bottom of a trench where they're consolidated to a higher solids content and withdrawn. At that point they are pumped at low velocity to a tailings settling pond.

Because the TCT process sends denser material to the tailings pond, the active service life of the pond is maximized which translates into benefits across the board: economic, operational and environmental.

Economic Benefits
Using the TCT process, mining companies benefit financially because there will be less investment in land and in the construction of the costly tailings ponds. With TCT, the active service life of a pond is increased because denser material is being sent to the pond, which requires fewer ponds to be built over time.

Operational Benefits
Ciba Specialty Chemicals is available to run the entire tailings operation for mining companies, thereby allowing the company to do what they do best- focus on extraction and recovery efforts. Other operational benefits include the need for less reagents in the recovery process and a reduction in the tailings processing cycle time as a result of rapid water recovery.

Environmental Benefits
Water and land are precious resources, and the TCT process offers benefits in both areas. First, in the TCT process water is reclaimed earlier and reused in extraction and recovery and therefore less raw water is needed. Because water is reclaimed early in the process, less water is lost to evaporation. On the land front, less land is needed for tailings ponds because with the TCT process, the active service life of each pond is extended and fewer ponds are needed. Also, once the ponds are full, the land can be reclaimed much faster because the thickened clay content takes less time to settle.

Ciba® TCTTM Tailings Management Solution sets a new standard in tailings management practices.



Click for more info on Hi-Tech Metals '18

Danielle Broadstreet
Ciba Specialty Chemicals

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