Assessing tailings management through the design of tailing ponds in small scale
Rapid development of the world’s economy demands for more mineral resources. At the same time, a vast quantity of mine tailings, as the waste byproduct of mining and mineral processing, is being produced in huge proportions. Tailings impoundments play an important role in the practical surface disposal of these large quantities of mining waste. Historically, tailings were relatively small in quantity and had no commercial value, thus little attention was paid to their disposal. The tailings were perfectly discharged near the mines and few tailings storage facilities were constructed. Tailings coming from traditional mineral processing methods like the ground sluicing (washing ore in trenches), panning (using pans) and finally the waste water flows directly with suspended solids into the valley as there is no any settlement system. As a solution of that existing problem of environmental degradation, my project is to look ways by which solids suspended in waste water from mineral processing must settle into ponds before the clarified water can be allowed to flow to valley or recycled. The settled tailings will be thereafter discharged from decantation basins for other purpose like being retreated looking for other minerals which remains after processing or for backfilling of a mined out area. This research project is concerned with the description of different methods of tailings disposal and the design of settling pond system while the design of tailing storing structures like retaining walls and embankments will be performed by civil engineers, hence for the results of tailings calculations this project clearly show how tailings are produced at GMDC ,this calculation is based on the quantity of ore extracted ,at GMDC they extract 5 tons ore wolframite ore in 10days ,and when ore is processed 95% is waste or tailings and 4.5% is the concentrate, so after processing the concentrate is 55% as the grade based on these findings recommendation for improving tailings management in small scale mines like GMDC Ltd for safety and high performance they must upgrade the processing method of minerals because much amount is lost through using traditional method ,provide Personal protective equipment for workers safety, study good tailings design that they must apply for a best tailings storage. As conclusion the researcher advises mining companies to manage tailings within the underground as backfill instead of leaving them on the surface, if the researcher realize that in case tailings will be taken into consideration before the extraction or mine operations in the environment will be safe and sustainable.