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Risks of Tailings Loss and Environmental Exposure

Since the beginning of the modern mining industry, there have been hundreds of tailings collapses, slides, and floods. 

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Can Tailings Ever Be Reused?

Mining is full of materials that are not the ore or mineral being targeted for excavation. 

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Lining Recommendations for Tailing Storage

With so many challenges to storing and containing tailings in the long run, it is important to choose a liner that can handle the material. 

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Wet vs Dry Storage for Mine Tailings

Mine tailings may be produced in the thousands of tons per mine, but they are not all uniform in their characteristics.

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Primary and Secondary Containment for Tailings

Tailings are a potentially hazardous material, depending on the exact content of the material and what was being mined during its production.

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Tailings vs Overburden vs Other Materials

Modern mining operations may produce thousands of tons of tailings after the ore is removed and processed for valuable materials.

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Types of Impoundments Used to Contain Tailings

Whether kept relatively dry and heaped or mixed as a sludge and pumped into a pond, tailings are generally contained by impoundments. 

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Tailings: Why Are They So Difficult to Contain?

While there are many other materials that can risk human health or cause environmental damage, tailings are among the most challenging to contain.

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Tailings: When Things Go Wrong

Tailings ponds contain toxic materials that won’t ever go away, and yet they must survive earthquakes, erosion and intense weather events, perhaps for hundreds, or even thousands of years. 

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Tailings Pond Design

Site conditions, topography and environmental factors all play critical roles in determining the type and placement of a tailings storage facility. 

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Tailings Storage Options

At first blush, tailings ponds are fairly simple structures that hold tailings and enough water to cover them completely, which makes ponds one of the most cost-effective and widely used storage options. 

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So, what are Tailings?

The term tailings refers to the residue that’s left after the usable materials have been recovered. 

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How is Metal Extracted from Ore?

The first step in processing raw ore is reducing the rocks and various chunks to small, uniform sizes.

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History of Tailings Ponds

Mining and, indeed, ore processing have been around for thousands of years, with evidence of lead smelting discovered as early as 4000 BCE in the Fertile Crescent. 

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