Specialised Tailings Testing, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
ATC Williams recognise that standard testing procedures are, in many cases, not appropriate for the testing of mine tailings. In our tailings storage facility designs we place great emphasis on the post deposition behaviour of tailings and have developed specific tests to provide the data needed to optimise tailings management.
Having our own NATA accredited laboratory has given ATC Williams the space to not only fine tune and further develop all standard testing procedures but to also create custom testing methods as the need arises and achieve maximum effect on every design we produce. ATC Williams offers a complete service for the management of tailings and mining residue, from preliminary scoping studies through to mine closure.
As global specialists in life of mine tailings management our work has included operations in the recovery of copper, gold, lead/zinc, coal, diamonds, mineral sands, alumina, uranium, nickel and other products worldwide. We have extensive experience in geotechnical and ground engineering, hydrology, hydrogeology, and rheology as applied to tailings depositional behaviour, water management and water balance.
Specialised Tailings Testing
ATC Williams have been testing mining tailings for over 20 years and have a substantial database of test results, many of which have been calibrated against subsequent field conditions. This expertise enhances our ability to extrapolate data from laboratory to site and enables us to confidently predict tailings behaviour.
Where appropriate, slurries are flocculated before testing to match the actual conditions on site. Many of these tests require sound professional judgement for the results to be meaningful. ATC Williams has both the competency and experience to assess the testing procedures and provide an accurate interpretation of the results.
We routinely carry out testing to determine tailings properties including:
- Basic parameters including Particle size distribution, Plasticity (Atterberg Limits) and Soil particle density (SG)
- Settled density (Drained and undrained)
- Shrinkage limit density (Beach drying)
- Segregation behaviour
- Consolidation by large diameter Rowe Cell
- Slurry Rheology
- And coming soon… Triaxial strength testing
For more specialised chemical tests or mineralogical analysis, ATC Williams will work with relevant specialist agencies on your behalf, providing these agencies with detailed objectives and specifications, to ensure you receive results of a consistent and high standard.
ATC Williams has particular expertise in the application of thickened tailings deposition, having pioneered the application of the Central Thickened Discharge method of tailings storage in Australia. This technique can result in significant reduction in construction effort compared to more conventional tailings storage solutions, as well as providing operational benefits such as reduced water use.
From our laboratory base ATC Williams can also provide a field sampling and testing service. This service includes compaction control via a Nuclear Density Meter, Sand Replacement or Water Replacement, Field sampling of tailings by slurry piston sampler and Field permeability testing.