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Tailing Pond Storage Optimization

Innovative strategies to keep up with current demands

  • Belgium


Our team optimized the storage capacity of a neutralization pond at a zinc processing plant in northeast Belgium

A confidential zinc processing plant in northeast Belgium employed outmoded neutralization techniques and was limited by their existing storage facility that needed to be expanded. The client decided to optimize the pond’s total storage capacity to promote the sustainable disposal of future waste. The project required a geotechnical investigation, disposal plan, environmental risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis, conceptual design, and detailed engineering.

We completed a feasibility study and prepared the detailed design of the facility. While producing 75,000 tons of dry goethite tailings and 75,000 tons of dry neutralization sludge each year, the site utilized an outdated wet-disposal technique for inefficiently storing tailings. To remedy this, we worked closely with the client to develop a modernized treatment plant that incorporates residue conditioning, dewatering by filter presses, filtrate management, and a stockpiling management plan.

Our solution would advance the stability of external dams, increase the lifetime of the neutralization pond, prevent seepage, create a sustainable site with vegetation, and reduce the environmental impact. Most importantly, our value engineering enabled this innovative approach to be economically feasible.

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