What are tailings storage facilities? - Mining Software - Technical Assurance, Resource & Mineral Governance - Enterprise SaaS
What are tailings storage facilities?

What are tailings storage facilities?

What is a Tailings Storage Facility (TSF)?

Tailings occur as the result of extracting the “gangue” from the valuable portions of mined ore, and these unneeded materials include metals, minerals, chemicals, organic compounds, and water. These materials are often toxic and can cause major environmental hazards if not properly contained and managed. This has led to the development of specialised tailings storage facilities (TSF), which are designed to safely store left over mined material that has lesser economic value. There are various commercial methods for storing tailings and the optimal method is typically dictated by several factors, including:
  • mine type
  • topography
  • cost
  • life of mine
Due to the risk associated with a TSF, mining companies generally have a regulatory obligation to manage a TSF beyond the operational life of mine (typically companies are required to monitor during the TSF’s rehabilitation stage). Following a series of catastrophic failures of TSF’s in Brazil, resulting in significant environmental and economic consequences, there has been growing pressures from regulators, customer and financial stakeholders to ensure improved management process of these facilities. As a part of this, several of the major mining companies have dedicated additional resources to new data-based technologies for monitoring and managing TSF’s. Find out more in the below guide.

Find out about the global changes in TSF regulations in our FREE guide.


What are mine tailings?

Mine tailings are the by-products of the mineral recovery process created following the processing of mined ore. Tailings typically take the form of a slurry made up of fine mineral particles.

What is a Tailings Storage Facility (TSF)?

TSFs are designed to safely store left over mined material.

What are the different types of tailings storage facilities?

There are several types of tailings storage facilities (TSF)’s: • Ponds and dams • Paste tailings • Dry stacking • Underground storage • Submarine tailings • Phytostabilisation

What are the recent tailings failures?

2019 saw several devastating tailings storage facility failures, including Nossa Senhora do Livramento in Brazil, Cobriza Mine in San Pedro de Coris, Peru, Córrego de Feijão Mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, and Hindalco Works in Muri, India.

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