School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

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Jinglong Gao

Phone: (+61 4) 1001 0046

Start date

Aug 2011

Submission date

Dec 2014

Jinglong Gao

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Paste tailings beach slope prediction with CFD simulation


The aim of this project is to use a proper numerical model for the non-Newtonian fluid-paste, and then use this model to simulate the flow behaviour of paste materials, thus providing a new method for beach slope prediction for paste tailings based on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation.

Why my research is important

A tailings stack, which is also referred to as a Centrally Thickened Discharge (CTD) scheme or Tailings Management System (TMS) for the placement of thickened tailings is finding greater popularity due to its inherent advantages over impoundments of conventional, segregating tailings. It is manifest that even very small differences between predicted and actual beach slopes may lead to significant changes in the tailings stack size (radius of footprint and height of stack) because the values of beach slope are quite small. It is hence very important to predict the beach slope accurately otherwise land will be wasted owing to overestimated footprint or undersized storage capacity of the stack may be achieved. Cost implications to mining companies of incorrect beach slope prediction, and thus incorrect estimation of storage volumes, can be extremely high, particularly if additional land has to be procured for tailings storage.

Currently the most commonly used method to predict beach slopes is laboratory flume tests which have been used successfully for many years for testing the beach slopes of segregating slurry. However, for thickened tailings (non-segregating slurry and paste) which are used for the central discharge technique, the beach slopes achieved with flume tests tend to be much steeper than those measured on site, mainly because the side walls of the flume provide resistance to the flowing tailings, due to the finite yield stress of these materials. Research on beach slope prediction to date has tended to focus on empirical or semi-empirical equations. No attempt, however, has been made to utilize CFD software package to predict tailings beach slopes.


School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

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Thursday, 19 September, 2013 11:39 AM