Specialist Tailings Testing

Melbourne Laboratory


Multiple Projects





All Regions

Specialised Tailings Testing

ATC Williams has tested mining tailings for over 30 years to create 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 predict tailings behaviour confidently.

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. Our technicians have the competency and experience to assess testing procedures and accurately interpret the results.
Tailings properties testing includes:

  • Basic parameters such as particle size distribution, plasticity (Atterberg Limits), and soil particle density (SG)
  • Settled density (drained and undrained)
  • Shrinkage limit density (beach drying)
  • Shear strength vs moisture content (beach drying)
  • Segregation behaviour
  • Permeability
  • Consolidation by large diameter Rowe Cell
  • Direct shear
  • Triaxial strength testing, including cyclic loading
  • Soil moisture characterisation
  • Slurry rheology
  • Slurry pipeline head loss
  • Slurry pipeline blockage and re-start

— Features and solutions

For specialised chemical tests or mineralogical analysis, we collaborate with specialist agencies on your behalf, providing detailed objectives and specifications to ensure you receive consistent and high-standard results. ATC Williams has particular expertise in the application of thickened tailings deposition, having pioneered the Central Thickened Discharge method of tailings storage in Australia. This technique can significantly reduce construction effort compared to more conventional tailings storage solutions and provide operational benefits such as reduced water use. Field sampling and testing services include compaction control via a Nuclear Density Meter, Sand Replacement or Water Replacement, field sampling of tailings by slurry piston sampler, field permeability, and PANDA Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (CDP) testing. ATC Williams can meet all your materials testing requirements and factor these results into the design of each project, effecting maximum benefit to every outcome produced.


Standard testing procedures are, in many cases, not appropriate for testing mine tailings. In our tailings storage facility designs, we emphasise the post-deposition behaviour of tailings and have developed specific tests to provide the data needed to optimise tailings management. ATC Williams offers a complete service for tailings and mining residue management, from preliminary scoping studies through to mine closure. Our NATA accredited laboratory can fine-tune and further develop all standard testing procedures, create custom testing methods as the need arises and achieve maximum effect on every design we produce. As global specialists in life-of-mine tailings management, our work includes operations in the recovery of copper, gold, lead/zinc, coal, diamonds, mineral sands, alumina, uranium, nickel, and other products worldwide. Extensive experience in geotechnical and ground engineering, hydrology, hydrogeology, and rheology is applied to tailings depositional behaviour, water management, and water balance.

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