Mine Tailings Storage: Safety Is No Accident

Mine tailings management and disposal Successfully managing mine tailings is a significant part of any large-scale mining operation. The methods employed for long-term storage should be based on a number of factors, illustrated below (Figure 14).

Major disposal techniques The pre-disposal treatment of the tailings, especially the degree of de-watering, influences the design and

management of tailings storage facilities. Tailings can be stored as wet slurry, thickened, paste, dry cake or a mix of tailings and coarse waste.

Considerations for long-term storage

Community settlements downstream existing land use infrastructure

EXTREME EVENTS flooding earthquakes Geographical setting downstream aquatic life

Financial cost

availability of water

operational cost

development cost


government company policy associations guidelines

closure cost post-closure cost



toxic nature

terrestrial biodiversity

wet or dry

Figure 14. Considerations for implementing the long-term storage of mine tailings


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