BHP and Rio Tinto collaborate on new tailings technology

BHP operates the world’s largest copper producer, Escondida in Chile. Credit: BHP

Two Australian mining giants, BHP (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), have formed a partnership to accelerate the development of technology that could significantly boost water recovery from mine tailings. Such expertise will reduce environmental footprints and safety risks associated with tailings management facilities.

The first project will involve a large-volume filter at a BHP copper mine in Chile, with the goal of removing up to 80% of the water in the tailings stream before storage. Rio Tinto has been using smaller-scale tailings filters on bauxite residues at alumina refineries since 2005.

According to Rio Tinto’s press release of Oct. 31, manufacturing of the new, large filter is already underway. Construction of a pilot plant will begin early next year, and commercial-scale operation is anticipated in early 2024.

Please see the appropriate websites for more information about BHP or Rio Tinto.

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