Mineral Tailings

Wastewater from mining or ore beneficiation contains suspended particles of fine sand, silt, clay, and possible limestone. A large percentage of solids may be colloidal due to their nature or as a result of milling and flotation pro

FIG. 8.1.5 Thickener for mineral tailings cessing with reagents added to disperse the solids. Table 8.1.6 shows the velocities at which particles of sand and silt subside in still water (American Water Works Association 1969) at 50°F.

Collodial particles cannot be removed by settling without chemical treatment. Because of the chemicals added in milling and during flotation, it is virtually impossible to economically clarify mineral tailings, and mineral tailing overflows from thickener clarifiers are usually retained indefinitely. Figure 8.1.5 illustrates thickener design used in alumina, steel, coal, copper, and potash processing.

—E.W.J. Diaper, T.F. Brown, Jr., E.G. Kominek, D.B. Aulenbach, C.A. Caswell

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