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How To Dispose Tailings Properly


As mining techniques and the price of minerals improve, it is not unusual for tailings to be reprocessed using new methods, or more thoroughly with old methods, to recover additional minerals.

Historically, tailings were disposed of in the most convenient manner, such as in downstream running water or down drains. Because of concerns about these sediments in the water and other issues, tailings ponds came into use. The sustainability challenge in the management of tailings and waste rock is to dispose of material, such that it is inert or, if not, stable and contained, to minimise water and energy inputs and the surface footprint of wastes and to move toward finding alternate uses.


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