The Bozshakol is a large copper mine located in Northern Kazakhstan. It has estimated reserves of 1.17 billion tonnes of ore grading 0.36% copper. KAZ Minerals, who owns the mine, developed the project as an open-pit mine with an onsite concentrator and a clay plant with an expected 43 years of production life.
ATC Williams has been engaged in the Bozashakol project since 2009, conducting studies and providing various options for tailings management. Recently, ATC Williams provided KAZ Minerals with a Life of Mine tailings management plan to store 1,265 Mt of tailings from Clay and Sulphide process plants. The plan was to upgrade the existing storage facility TSF Site 2, and construct a new storage facility TSF Site 4, which is expected to be commissioned in 2033.
This tailings management plan included a new tailings transportation plan to transport tailings from the two process plants to the two tailings storage facilities. ATC Williams conducted an options assessment to find the most economical option for tailings transportation with minimal disruption to the existing operations during upgrades. The assessment demonstrated that the most economical and sustainable option is to pump the tailings from each plant to a common point, combine the tailings and pump the combined tailings to the tailings storage facilities.
ATC Williams provided the basic design for the tailings transportation based on this strategy. It included upgrading the existing Clay pump station, a new combined tailings pump station, and approximately 16.5 km of new tailings pipelines.
Bozshakol project is located in a place with unique climate conditions. In the summer months, the temperature can go up to 40°C and during the winter months, it can drop below -40°C. Therefore, the pipelines needed to be designed for the freezing conditions and effects of the expansion and contraction resulting from these extreme temperature variations. ATC Williams conducted Stress Analysis which aided in the pipeline design to keep the thermal stresses and displacements under allowable limits.
· ATC Williams provided the most sustainable solution for the tailings transportation
· Less water circulation resulted in energy savings in pumping
· Minimal disruption to the existing operations during upgrade works
· Pipeline design for extreme climate conditions aided by Stress Analysis work