Cracow Gold Mine Tailings Transport and Return Water System

Life of Mine Tailings Management Plan


Aeris Resources




2019 - 2021

Australia/New Zealand

Cracow Gold Operation (CRO) is an established high-grade, low-cost gold mine located near the township of Cracow, approximately 500km northwest of Brisbane. The mine has been owned and operated by Aeris Resources since July 2020.

In 2019, CRO estimated that the site’s existing TSF1 and TD4 would reach capacity by August 2021. Therefore, building a new Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) for the rest of Life of Mine (LoM) was inevitable. The selected site for the new TSF was about 7km from the process plant.

— Features and solutions

ATC Williams was engaged to develop a concept and detailed design for the tailings and return water delivery system to the new TSF site.

Several options were considered by ATC Williams for the tailings delivery to the new TSF:

  1. Base Case Option: Building a new Tailings Pump Station
  2. Alternative Option 1: Use and upgrade (if required) the existing Tailings Pump Station at the Process Plant.
  3. Alternative Option 2: Use and upgrade (if required) the existing Booster Pump Station at TSF1.

The comprehensive hydraulic analysis demonstrated that the project did not need to build a new pump station, and the upgrade work required for the booster pump station was relatively minor. As a result, CRO could save significantly on project capital costs.

The selected option included a new tailings pipeline and distribution system for the new TSF, a new return water pump and pipeline from the TSF. The only upgrades required in the Booster Pump Station were adding the gland-type stuffing box and packing system for the existing slurry pumps and a new gland seal water supply system for the pumps (including a rapid pressured filter and storage tank). The outcome was improving the overall operational life of the pumps.

In addition to cost savings, the project benefited from construction time savings due to eliminating long-lead items such as new slurry pumps.


  • Site Investigation and pipeline route selection
  • Tailings lab testing to define tailings characteristics
  • Pipelines emergency failure containment bunds and storage ponds system
  • Comprehensive hydraulic analysis of the new system using the in-house developed methodology for Non-Newtonian hydraulic calculations
  • Optimising the Design to utilise the existing infrastructure as much as possible
  • Booster Pump Station Upgrade
  • Detailed Design of the new tailings transport and return water system
  • Cost (CAPEX/OPEX), estimation and optimisation
  • Construction Support

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