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Plant rejects disposal strategies applied at Caval Ridge open cut coal mine

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Author J Li, D Payne and H Hooi

Description

Caval Ridge Mine (CVM) is one of the newly established open-cut coal mines of BHP in Queensland, where no tailings dam is planned to be built in order to minimise environmental impacts from mining activities. The waste streams from the Coal Handling and Processing Plant, including fine tailings dewatered by belt filter presses, coarse rejects, and mixed plant rejects, are co-disposed within waste dumps built with pre-strip and dragline spoils. Due to high rejects output (35 – 60% of feed) and low spoil to reject ratio (< 5) the large quantities of rejects bring significant geotechnical and operational challenges to CVM, which are exacerbated by increasing annual production rates and additional rejects from washing coal from an adjacent mine. Further in-house geotechnical review commenced in mid-2014 based on the initial geotechnical studies during the project stage of CVM between 2011 and 2013. The outcomes have enabled rejects disposal at CVM by constructing large belt filtered tailings cells, coarse rejects only dumps, and co-disposal of the mixed plant rejects at dump tip-heads. This paper presents the rejects disposal strategies at CVM from both technical and operational aspects. It also discusses future projects for belt filtered tailings moisture reduction including assessment of tailings clay mineralogy, as well as mixed plant reject co-disposal verification and optimisation. CITATION: Li, J, Payne, D and Hooi, H, 2018. Plant rejects disposal strategies applied at Caval Ridge open cut coal mine, in Proceedings Mine Waste and Tailings Stewardship Conference 2018, pp 50–60 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).