Tailings storage facilities are generally the most significant environmental liability for mine permitting, operation and closure. Tailings filtration and “dry-stacking” reduces the risk of liquefaction, improves rehabilitation and minimises water consumption compared to conventional wet impoundments and is therefore considered to be environmental best practice for tailings management.

This paper describes the ‘state of play’ for current filtration technologies, industry trends, and key considerations for engineering filtration and stacking systems at high throughputs. Cost modelling completed as part of several case studies illustrate how material characteristics and project-specific drivers influence the stacking system selection, stack design, target moisture, filtration strategy, technology selection, reliability/maintainability and circuit de-coupling to ensure design objectives are realised whilst maximising project value.