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COBRIZAS CU TAILINGS SURFACE STACKING....

A SUCCESSFUL STORY Vladimir Gonzales Dorr-Oliver Eimco

ABSTRACT

Doe Runs Cobriza mine site is located in the low central Andes of Peru. This article describes how Cobriza was able to overcome an environmental problem in strict accordance to government PAMA1 regulations and has been able to maintain the current mine operation by successfully installing the first paste surface disposal system in South America. Rheological requirements, design engineering, implementation optimization and operating philosophy are thoroughly presented. Economic project impact issues are analyzed as well as technical and social aspects, and how all these, intimately correlate for an efficient operation.

PAMA, Spanish acronym for: Environmental Adequacy Program


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I.

INTRODUCTION Doe Runs a USA company, owns several mining properties in Peru, among them Cobriza which is a mine producing about 4600 Mtpd of 1.2 % Cu, mainly chalcopyrite composed and processed by flotation with the respective 26% Cu concentrates that are then trucked 300 km to the smelter. The lack of contaminants such as, Pb, Bi, As, Sb in Cobrizas concentrate makes it a need for the Doe Run smelter in La Oroya, where it is blended with and helps to process dirty concentrates. Cobrizas location is best described elsewhere, from which it can be seen that areas for conventional tailings disposal do not exist due to the mountainous terrain. In addition, PAMA regulations were clear that Zero tailings and minimum clean water discharge were permitted. The previous owner never had to consider tailings disposal, since tailings were at that time discharged straight into the river. If Cobriza did not comply with the PAMA regulations it would have resulted in fines and closure of the mine with the loss of jobs for about 1,500 people directly employed and 6,000 indirectly employed, plus process complications in the smelter. Furthermore due to the nature of the project it would not have been possible to quantify ROI, NPV, and other financial project feasibility parameters. Cobriza was also facing a timeframe constraint, (i.e. less than a year) and hence many of the studies had to be conducted almost in parallel with other activities such as engineering, procurement, etc.

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

II.

RHEOLOGICAL REQUIREMENTS A series of laboratory and pilot tests were programmed in order to find rheological values for the thickened tailings. During the 15 days, round the clock, a 30 ton/day pilot testing was effected and it was found possible to produce paste at a high solids concentration with slumps from 7 1/2 to 8 1/2. Figure 1 and Table 1 show some of the findings. Yield stress values were in the high range which called for caution on the production and transport of the paste and for the future disposal.

Cobriza Rheology

Solids Percent wt%


Figure 1 Calculated Yield Stress vs % Solids Slump tests were performed using an ASTM cone 30cm x 20cm x 10cm. After filling the cone with the sample, the cone was lifted allowing the sample to free flow. The height of the slump cone (s) and the difference in height from the top of the cone (h) to the top of the slump cone (h-s) were measured. Yield stress was calculated from this data for each solid concentration according to the formula (2): Yield stress (Pa) = 0.5-0.5 x (s /h) 0.5 x (kg/m3) x g (meter/second2) x h (meters) t = 0.5-0.5 x (s /h) 0.5

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

These findings indicated that it was feasible to consistently obtain nonsegregating tailings with solids content above 76% and slumps ranging between 21.6 and 23.5 cm as underflow from a CDT. Slump consistency variations were then attributable to feed stream changes i.e. particle size, density, tonnage. It was also found that even at a 72% solids density in the CDT underflow discharge with a 65% passing 38 microns size; none paste segregation occurred. Figures 2 and 4 show photos of tests undertaken on the thickened underflow produced from the CDT during the pilot testing. Later, the engineering company PSI-Delta Pro, found the yield stress values to be lower, but it is believed that these reductions were attributable to aging, handling and so on. Did also, the paste tailings transport and disposal engineering design.

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Figure 2 Flume and Slump Test

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

III.

DESIGN ENGINEERING Figure 3, shows the conceived and approved flowsheet.

Figure 3 Paste Tailings Production, Transport and Disposal Flowsheet and Respective Profile.

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

The environmental regulations required. Zero tailings discharge to the river Minimum clean water release Ground filtration zero to the basin The designed flowsheet is in accordance with the regulation. A thorough Geotechnical study was carried by Geomaster (7) and investigated, earthquake zoning, geodynamics, ground stability for disposal and CDT areas. Overflow tailings transport were PSI/Delta Pro designed and paste production by DOE, paste transport and disposal by both companies. The containment embankment wall is 3 m high and built with nearby borrow material. The total area of the disposal area is about, 250 m x 110 m. This has been designed as a fully automated system requiring 2 people/ shift to operate. Project cost alternatives evaluated, were mainly restricted due to the geographical nature of the mine location; large flat areas for conventional tailings disposal are simply not available.

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Figure 4 DOE RUN CDT, 14m x 21m Industrial Paste Production Unit

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

IV.

START UP AND SYSTEM OPTIMIZATION Start up was carried on August 14 th 2004 on manual basis and now after 4 months of operations the process conditions summarized in Table 2 have been achieved.

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Presently there are conditions not yet completed and some that are in the process of being completed : 1. Plant tonnage variations need to be constant and become more homogeneous, particle size, tonnages, density can not be drastically changed. The eight D-15 hydrocyclones are going to an Apex/Vortex standarization when operating with one circuit at 140 Mtph and 230 Mtph with one and a half circuits, since feed to the CDT is the Hydrocyclons overflow. Tailings supply to the DCT needs to be automated. Automation for the system needs to be completed in order to provide a more consistent underflow discharge. Tailings disposal spigots valve system needs to be automated as well.

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Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

V. 1.

CONCLUSIONS It is being demonstrated that a paste surface disposed system is feasible, (photo 1,2,3,4). The mine was not shutdown and is maintaining the highest environmental and safety standards while producing and the solution was the lowest economical alternative considered. Compared to a conventional tailings disposal system, the earthwork requirements were minimum and this made the solution economically attractive. Water recovered is higher and fully recirculated to the plant. Reagents savings evaluations are on the way. In order to have a more consistent solids underflow discharge, there is need for a more homogenous feed to the tailings system and to complete the engineered automation. The average underflow solids content at present is 77 % and minimum paste forming is achieved at 72% solids. With the existing conditions still there is not need of using the PDP. (Positive Displacement Pump). Once the paste discharged, further density increase is obtained mainly due to the high evaporation rate and disposal alternate system, (photo 1, 2). The La Oroya smelter is benefitting from the clean concentrate. People are maintaining their jobs, this is specially important since the area where the mine is located ranks among the poorest in the country. Operating costs are lower if compared to a conventional tailings disposal system. The system was capable of treating above design capacity 330 Mtph with an average 26cm slump, 76% solids, and 57% passing 38 microns. This solids concentration U/F did not show any segregation. Average U/F paste conditions are of 224 Mtph, 77 % solids, 25cm to 26cm slump and 57 % passing 38 microns. Paste disposal space limitation forces to accumulate the underflow discharged paste in a small area, and still is possible obtaining a steep disposal angle.

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Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1.

Robinsky, E.I., (1999). Thickened Tailings Disposal in the Mining Industry. Toronto, Canada. Jewell R. J. et al. (2002). Paste and thickened tailings A guide. The University of Western Australia Press, Ned lands Western Australia, Australia 6009. Roussel N, Lanos C, (2003), Volume 13, Issue 3, Plastic Fluid Flow parameters Identification using a simple squeezing Test. Applied Rheology, Peter Fischer and Martin Kroger Edit. 44149 Dortmund, Germany. Brzezinski L.S., (2001), Volume 9 Number 5. Thickened Tailings Disposal. Mining journal books ltd, P.O. Box 10 Edenbridge, Kent UL.

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REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. Gonzales V., Gamero W (2004). Cobriza DOE Internal Report. Lima Peru. Gamero W (2004), Cobriza DOE Pilot Tests Report Lima Peru. Hernandez A.M. (2003). Estudio Geotcnico y Diseo de Depsitos de Relaves, Doe Run, Lima-Peru.

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

ADDENDUM I COBRIZA GENERAL SITE CONDITIONS

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Photo 01 10cm diam. spigot discharge with 78% solids, and 65% passing 38 micron Notice the dry area not yet covered

Photo 02 Disposal at 1 month. Notice the steep slope


Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com

Photo 03 Disposal after 4 months

Photo 04 Side wall construction, in the upper tailings section, with consolidated paste after 4 months

Dorr-Oliver Eimco Peru S.A.C. Calle Martir Olaya 129 Oficina 1106 Centro Empresarial Pardo Torre A Miraflores. Lima 18 Per Tel: (511) 243-0404 Fax: (511) 243-0505 www.glv.com