Paste Technology  
Paste Technology or Paste & Thickened Tailings (P&TT) is the single most rapidly developing field within tailings management. TTD stands for Thickened Tailings Disposal.
By the process of thickening the tailings to a heavy slurry prior to disposal, it is possible to create a self-supporting deposit of tailings and to eliminate the typical superimposed settling pond. The reason why the failure of a conventional tailings disposal dam is so environmentally disastrous is not the dam itself, but the fact that the dam retains a mass of very loose unconsolidated tailings and a great deal of process water. If the dam fails, the contents liquefy completely as they flow through the breach.
The main advantages of P&TT are:
  • Reduced need for transport water
  • Stable material for disposal
  • Protection of soil and groundwater from infiltration
  • Minor tailings dams required only
  • Significant reduction in risk posed by the tailings facility
The main problems eliminated using TTD systems are (Robinsky, E.I. (1999): Tailings dam failures need not be disasters - The thickened tailings disposal (TTD) system. CIM Bulletin. Vol. 92, N° 1028. p. 140-142):
  • Danger of tailings dam failure caused by earth tremor, vibrations or movement of heavy equipment
  • Erosion and undermining of the dams by seepage from the raised slimes pond
  • Danger of collapse of buried decant pipes
  • Infiltration of undesirable tailings fluids into the soil and groundwater from the liquid pond
  • Commencement of reclamation only after mine closure.
A few useful links (courtesy Petra Schlager, Karlsruhe University): Processing & Disposal of Mineral Industry Wastes ´03 Conference, June 18 to 20, 2003, Falmouth, UK
Minerals Engineering International Dr. Eli I. Robinsky´s site 3. Conf. Env. Managmt in S. Africa 08/2002, (full papers\waste management) Book review
Chapter TT Alternatives for tailings and accounting for sustainability

Binder applications
Fist thickened discharge ACG newsletter ACG newsletter
Case study
Report on TT transport
Mutiple-layer paste disposel (curtesy John Engels)
Mutiple-layer paste disposal (Newman, P., 2003, Paste the answer to dam problems, Materials World - Volume 11, Number 1. pp 24-26. Courtesy John Engels, University of Leeds)
New developments
5th Framework Programme Research Project
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