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Circular Divider

Mining sludge dewatering

Circular Divider

An introduction to this case study

Current systems for managing mining waste are based on linear economic thinking (take-make-waste).

The development of a circular economy model for the mining industry has significant potential to solve the challenges of limited mineral resources, waste of resources, environmental pollution and minimising product specific waste while remaining profitable.

Technologies used in this case study:

Mining Sludge

Look at how we deal with the followingchallenge:

1. Mining sludge dewatering

Mining sludge dewatering


Effective tailings management is critical to reduce the environmental impact of the mining industry. Tailings are usually in the form of a slurry made up of fine mineral particles and are typically stored in large dams that could extend up to 1,000 hectares. If not well-managed, they could leach into water resources and cause significant ground water, surface water, and land (soil) contamination.

Reprocessing tailings to extract valuable mineral material is an opportunity for mining companies to retrieve leftover minerals and reduce tailings waste. In most mining countries, tailings are considered waste as they contain low-grade ore. However, as minerals’ scarcity increases and technology improves, tailings become a significant resource of a value.

The first step in reprocessing the sediment or sludge is to dredge it from a pond and feed it to liquid/solid separation equipment to produce dry cake and a filtrate with minimal solids.

A high cake dryness produced with low polymer consumption and a high capture rate while maintaining reasonable throughput is required from the equipment to ensure a profitable process.


Sinowatek presents the Fournier Rotary PressTM dewatering technology from Fournier Industries in Canada as the most advanced technology available. A dewatering technology always holds cake dryness performance promise and a high solids capture rate up front and the main advantage of a demonstration is to test and prove this promise.

Sinowatek, offers pilot testing with a full-sized Fournier Rotary PressTM dewatering pilot unit to determine the dewatering potential of mining sludge. Real test data eliminates the risk of non-performance of capital equipment.

It is important to underline that the channels on the pilot unit are full-sized, giving accurate performance and production data, on a per-channel basis. Since the Fournier Rotary PressTM has a modular, channel design, it allows for precise equipment sizing and performance calculation.

Successful tests were done at a platinum mine in South Africa and the piloting unit produced good cake dryness and production throughput. The low total suspended solids measured in the filtrate, demonstrate an excellent capture rate.

Benefits for clients:

  • The opportunity to be able to invest in a full-scale demonstration of the technology on the specific mine tailings on the site of the mine offers much comfort that the potential capital investment is justified.
  • The Fournier Rotary PressTM is among the most advanced and reliable dewatering technologies available.
  • Due to its reliability and simplicity, the Fournier Rotary PressTM requires minimal supervision. It is the only dewatering technology that is safe for stand-alone automatic operation and can be monitored and operated by remote control (SCADA).
  • Lower operating costs
  • High performance, easy operation, reduced polymer usage, low power consumption and low maintenance.
  • The equipment can shut down automatically as scheduled, enter into a self-cleaning cycle and resume operation. If low sludge feed levels are detected it will enter the cleaning cycle and shut down.
  • Another unique feature of the Fournier Rotary PressTM is the ability to order units that are prepared for expansion at a future date. This allows customers to benefit from lower capital costs at the time of purchase and expand capacity according to need. Any combination of channels can be installed, up to a maximum of 8 channels per press.

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