The Groundwork

Using AI Augmented Engineering for Tailings Management

AI Integration: Elevating Efficiency and Sustainability in Engineering

Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into engineering practices is a valuable strategy for optimising tailings management processes. AI can augment engineering and enhance monitoring, prediction, and decision-making, improving efficiency and sustainability.



Key AI applications in tailings management include:


Data Integration and Visualisation

AI can seamlessly integrate data from diverse sources, offering a comprehensive view of operations. AI-empowered visualisation tools present complex data in a user-friendly format, facilitating quick decision-making.


Predictive Analytics

AI can analyse various historical data types to predict material characteristics and behaviour and resource optimisation. This analysis aids in preventive measures, optimising safety and minimising costs and impacts.


Monitoring and Surveillance

AI-powered systems enhance real-time surveillance of tailings storage facilities. Drones and sensors equipped with machine learning algorithms can detect anomalies and potential risks, allowing for early intervention and risk reduction.


Automated Decision Support

Integration with the Internet of Things (IoT) can process real-time data and recommend optimal courses of action, including Early Warning Systems. AI-driven optimisation enhances predictive capabilities and automates responses to potential risks.


Fig. 1 – Engineering augmented with AI applications.


Fig. 2 – An innovative dam generated by AI.



Tailings Management: A Critical Endeavor

Tailings management is critical to mining operations, ensuring environmental sustainability and regulatory compliance. Surface Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs), commonly used in mining, pose potential environmental and safety risks. Innovative solutions often address these challenges by exploring the overarching question, ‘Can tailings be converted to profit?’


Innovative Solutions: Transforming Tailings into Assets

Cemented Paste Backfill (CPB), a mixture of tailings, water, and cement, is one such solution with properties like flowability and strength. CPB can optimise mining operations and allow higher ore recovery by providing support and stability in underground mines. Waste materials and industrial by-products, such as slags and fly ash, are considered cost-effective replacements in producing different concrete types, contributing to sustainability and reducing production costs and resource use. Tailings with suitable properties can be potentially repurposed for sustainable construction materials, aligning with profitable tailings management strategies.


Expertise: The Cornerstone of Success

Expertise is vital to ensure precisely formulated problems, accurately interpreted data, and to address ethical considerations. Collaborative interdisciplinary efforts in construction and mining projects benefit from knowledge and experience, providing a seamless alignment of AI applications with industry-specific requirements and sustainable practices.


Research and Beyond: A Commitment to Innovation and Sustainability

Ehsan’s PhD research focused on the optimisation of paste backfill design and operation in mining projects as a profitable tailings management strategy. He has also explored the chemical and physical properties of various waste materials and by-products, such as slags, fly ash, and tailings, strategically utilising them as cost-effective replacements for key components in cementitious pastes and concretes, thereby promoting sustainability in construction materials.


A facet of Ehsan’s work is incorporating AI to design materials. Ehsan’s investigations extend to the application of AI algorithms for material classification, characterisation, and property prediction, as well as the proposition of an engineered framework for multi-objective design optimisation of sustainable materials. This approach minimises the costs and efforts associated with experimentation and results in an optimal design that meets multiple requirements.


Through this synergy of engineering and AI, ATC Williams strives for sustainable development and improved circular economy in the mining and construction industries, particularly the tailings management field.


Fig. 3 – Requirements to fulfil for production of sustainable material.


Fig. 4 – CPB mixture design optimisation using an AI-based approach.



– By Ehsan Sadrossadat, Senior Engineer


Ehsan Sadrossadat is an experienced civil and geotechnical engineer at ATC Williams working on various construction and mining projects. He has been applying innovative AI-based solutions to optimise approaches and processes in engineering practices for many years.

You can follow Ehsan on LinkedIn

— Client Log In

Click below to login to our ITransfer Portal.

This website collects cookies to deliver better user experience.

For more information, please read our Privacy Statement