Comprehensive Western Australian Tailings Review

Comprehensive Western Australian Tailings Review

This beautiful photograph of a tailings facility in Cataby has been used under licensed from

Pump & Flow are embarking on an industry-wide survey of all the tailings system currently in operation in Western Australia.

The rationale behind this endeavour is that it is best to stretch R&D resources as far as possible by focusing on research that is relevant to the greatest number of sites. So, as a first step it is necessary to identify the make-up of the “typical” site. 

Although Australia has contributed to the body of hydrotransport knowledge with several seminal papers, most research has been conducted abroad, and the relevance to Australian operations is varied. Mineralogy, for example, is location-specific and can have a surprising impact on the performance of pipe flow. By doing this survey Pump & Flow aims to develop a comprehensive database which will highlight common properties and serve to shape future research which we will perform on our pipe loop.

Slurry systems are fiendishly difficult to get right, and anecdotally there seems to be potential for improvement. Armed with the right knowledge for example water consumption can often be reduced, wear can be minimised, power reduced, and TSF integrity improved.

By better understanding our systems, we can tease out productivity improvements which will keep our industry competitive

These improvements can be activated each time a dam lift occurs, or a new cell is added.

For these reasons, when someone from our team reaches out, we hope you will cooperate. The cost to your site is negligible, you will receive detailed testwork results, and contribute to a project designed to improve industry performance.


All mineral processing plants in Western Australia are encouraged to participate in this initiative. Each site will be contacted individually to coordinate the details. 


The survey is intended to obtain a snapshot across industry. The survey will include detailed testwork for the properties listed below:

  • Density (skeletal and pulp) 
  • Particle size distribution 
  • Particle shape characterisation 
  • Pulp concentration 
  • Friability 
  • Yield stress 
  • Carrier fluid characterisation:
    - Total dissolved solids
    - pH
    - Conductivity
    - Viscosity
    - Density 


The survey spans all regions in Western Australia, and results will be presented for each region. The samples will be obtained from each site, and shipped to Perth where the Pump & Flow lab will process all samples and manage the data.


The survey will begin on the 1st of July 2023 and will run until each plant has been offered the opportunity to participate.


Pump & Flow has expanded its lab facilities to develop a necessary pipe loop, in an effort to focus research where it has the most impact to the WA mining industry.

Following on from the results of this survey, specific research will be conducted to improve the head loss models and wear models by refining them for our local conditions.

Each site should get involved because the goal is to unlock model improvements which will lower the CAPEX and OPEX of tailings transport systems, and ultimately drive productivity forwards. 


The survey will be managed by Pump & Flow. Initially we will reach out to introduce the project in more detail and solicit your cooperation. We will agree on a mutually agreeable date for sampling, and provide details as to location, method, and quantity of sampling. If required, the Pump & Flow team can attend site to provide assistance in obtaining representative samples. 

Samples will need to be packaged for transport, and backfreighted to your preferred depot in Perth. Pump & Flow will collect the samples, process them in our laboratory, and prepare test results which will be issued to your site for information.  

Results will be anonymised and published in aggregate.

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