Andina Mine, Santiago, Chile




The El Teniente deposit has been mined for the last 100 years, at generally increasing rates of production. The current production schedule envisages ongoing production for a period greater than 50 years.

The study was carried out in accordance with the Codelco requirements for a Profile level study.


The overall objectives and methodology of the study were as follows:

  • Assessment of TSF filling rates and embankment staging requirements.
  • Test representative samples of DET tailings.
  • Assess design tailings beach slopes.
  • To investigate alternative means of tailings transport to the storage.
  • Develop storage options utilising paste or thickened tailings in the filling of the Caren storage, including:

Further detailed studies were subsequently carried out to finalise the design of the tailings management system.

The study concluded that future tailings disposal should continue at the current Caren Dam site rather than an alternate site or off-shore disposal. The initial proposed options were studied based on Down Valley Discharge (DVD) involving various arrangements, thickening strategies, and timing, all aimed at minimising embankment raising requirements by increasing the beach slope and hence, hopefully, reducing cost.

Deposition of thickened tailings via multiple-point spigot discharge is capable of dramatically reducing costs. The impoundment area is large and the technique can be engineered to avoid any further significant Caren Dam raisings.


The comprehensive studies compared several options for the storage the tailings and were assessed in terms of:

  • Capital costs (e.g. embankments construction and related infrastructure.
  • Ongoing costs (e.g. water management).
  • Stability (e.g. potential for liquefaction and embankment stability).

Due to the large amount of tailings needed to be stored, the cost differential between options were significant and study provided a comprehensive comparison of the options and found the most cost effective and efficient method of storage.

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