Operation at the Antamina Copper-Zinc Mine in Central Peru

Production at the Antamina Copper-Zinc mine in central Peru started in June, 2001. The operation was designed for a nominal milling production rate of 70,000 tpd. Components of the tailings management facility include a 130 m high concrete faced rockfill dam, 1300 m of decant tunnel and 14 km of water diversion channels and pipelines. At start-up, the tailings pond was 90 m deep and contained 15 million m3 of water. The dam and foundation are instrumented with settlement cells, total stress cells and piezometers. This paper presents the performance of the dam during filling of the impoundment with water and then tailings. The tailings deposition plan is compared to the actual tailings configuration as determined by the periodic bathymetric surveys. During mill commissioning, the tailings pond water was not suitable for discharge. The changes implemented in the mill and tailings impoundment to achieve water quality criteria are presented. These changes achieved the water quality objectives as well as reduced the overall re-agent costs.

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