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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Conference Reports: Tailings & Paste Management, and Decommissioning & Water Management


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Tailings & Paste Management, and Decommissioning & Water Management
Perth, Australia, November 30 - December 2, 2005

On the 30th November 2005, the Australian Centre for Geomechanics hosted a three day seminar entitled, 'Tailings & Paste Management, and Decommissioning & Water Management' at The Ibis Hotel in Perth, Western Australia.

Andy Fourie, Principal - Environmental Geomechanics (ACG), opened the seminar with asking more than 50 attendees to consider that the day may arrive when tailings dams holding millions of litres of free water, as found on hundreds of mine sites around the world - exist no longer, a belief he shares with Professor David Boger, The University of Melbourne, who also foresees that it is possible to 'reduce and even eliminate tailings dams at many mine sites'.

The seminar addressed a wide range of aspects relating to tailings design and operations, case studies, mathematical models information, as well as the impacts on the general community which were addressed in David Elias’ (GHD Pty Ltd) presentation. The seminar also addressed the issues facing site personnel involved in the day-to-day management and operation of tailings storage facilities and the requirement to comply with the relevant operating standards and environmental and closure requirements. Special emphasis was placed on water management and decommissioning issues that are of increasing importance to mine site personnel and addressed the conditions and challenges in managing mining wastes.

Throughout the three days, a number of sessions were dedicated to thickened and paste tailings, dealing with the considerations of this technique as a means of reducing risks and expediting rehabilitation and mine closure activities.

During the afternoon of the first day, a highly interactive workshop was facilitated by David Elias and Harley Lacy (Outback Ecology) and on the afternoon of the second day, Bill Biggs (Valbeck EMS) joined the team of facilitators and specific issues facing the mining industry in the field of tailings management were discussed. The second workshop was structured to facilitate input from delegates and a five minute presentation on a particular problem related to their tailings management activities was encouraged and eight of the mini-presentations were chosen for discussion during the workshop. The intention was to discuss real issues and work through possible solutions.

The Australian Centre for Geomechanics looks forward to launching an essential reference source on paste and thickened tailings entitled 'Paste and Thickened Tailings - A Guide (Second Edition)' at the 9th International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings to be held in Limerick, Ireland during April 2006.

For further information regarding Tailings & Paste Management, and Decommissioning & Water Management or to purchase a set of course notes, please contact Jill Hollinshead at The Australian Centre for Geomechanics, email: jedholl@acg.uwa.edu.au or visit the website: www.acg.uwa.edu.au




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