Tailings Management - Midwest Industrial

Case studies show Soil Sement can redefine your tailings management

In Mine Tailings Management by Steve Vitale

When Midwest began more than 45 years ago, mines were our first customers. We know their challenges and how to solve them. But active tailings add another layer since they’re constantly experiencing an influx of new materials. As the work continues and the waste grows, the hazards do too, leaving mines searching for effective tailings management. 

Chlorides: fighting fire with fire

Chlorides are a popular method for mitigating dust emissions. When applied, they absorb water from the atmosphere to agglomerate particles and weigh them down to the surface.. Despite their perceived convenience, chlorides don’t form a hard crust, and are water soluble, leaving them highly susceptible to washing out, even after their high volume of application. The easy wear then requires multiple application sessions per season that waste time, money, and resources for short-term tailings management.

Also, chlorides are highly corrosive and result in much quicker equipment damage and failure.

Mine tailings are a given when it comes to the mining process. Midwest has the answer with tailings management that’s easier, more cost efficient, effective, and environmentally friendly. 

Your future with Soil Sement

Backed by science-based nano technology, we’ve curated our innovative Soil Sement Engineered Formula (SSEF) down to the molecular level. Fashioned as a polymer emulsion, it penetrates tailings to form strong physical bonds between particles that lock them to the surface, eliminating 99% of dust emissions. It creates a weather resistant crust that also prevents other substances from entering the environment through runoff. 

When you choose Soil Sement for your tailings management, you aren’t just protecting, but enhancing its performance. Using a strong bound matrix, your tailings become resistance to wind erosion, abrasion, and rain erosion. 

All of these attributes together give you a lasting tailings management solution through a variety of conditions for better safety at long term cost savings — and there’s studies to prove it.

Copper mine uses Soil Sement as dust control for the last 15 years

A large copper mine in the southwestern United States was looking for a product to protect their tailings from wind erosion and to minimize dust emissions. They decided to give Midwest a call. 

We worked with the mine to develop a customized tailings management program that achieved these needs. Midwest applied Soil Sement to 1.5 million square feet of tailings slopes as well as 275 acres of tailings in lift construction. The slopes maintained a stabilized and dust-free surface receiving just two treatments a year while the tailings storage received treatment on an as-needed basis. 

The mine’s operations, environmental impact, and site safety has improved immensely since Soil Sement has eradicated the dust particles. The improved tailings management, reliability, and technical support has spanned to more than 15 years of working with Midwest.

Peruvian metal mine takes environmental action with Soil Sement 

A major metal mine in Peru also experienced significant benefits using Soil Sement. Before reaching out to Midwest, the mine was facing serious environmental issues with their tailings management after laboratory testing revealed high levels of metal in their runoff water.  

Midwest advised using Soil Sement to seal tailings and prevent them from contaminating the surrounding area. After treatment, a laboratory analysis of runoff water found:

  • 99% reduction in lead
  • 98% reduction in zinc
  • 95% reduction in copper
  • 95% reduction in cadmium

Soil Sement completely curbed the presence of these heavy metals, eliminating the environmental and human health and safety concerns by keeping the tailings management at maximum efficiency.

Midwest delivers a one-source customized solution to your tailings management 

Unlike chlorides, Soil Sement checks all the necessary boxes when it comes to delivering a cost-effective continuous dust control solution to your operation. So how does Midwest get it right every time? With our thorough collaborative process that delivers your all-in-one solution that addresses each of your individual needs.

We start with a discover phase that examines your objectives. Our experts will conduct site surveys and interviews with mining management to discern a tailings management hypothesis.

Next, we’ll perform laboratory testing on samples using a designed solution at Midwest’s 5,000+ square foot geographical testing laboratory with trained technicians. These samples undergo a range of assessments like depth penetration, durability and strength, longevity, and wind speed simulations. 

Using the results, we settle on a formulation with a bound matrix for optimum performance. The final step is delivering and applying the engineered solution. 

All of these careful steps and considerations are what create the Midwest difference. Mine tailings management is already hard enough, so why make it harder? Let us customize your one-source Soil Sement solution. Contact us today to get started.