The mining industry has resorted to using seawater while trying to find a solution to the water shortage, which is severe in some regions. Today, the industry looks to tailings dams to re cover more water and, thus, increase recirculation. The migration of interstitial water due to the consolidation of particle networks can give rise to large water mirrors in different dam areas. These pools can contain enough water to be recovered and recirculated if the external stress caused by the weight of the pulp exceeds the compressive yield stress. The density and rheological properties of the discarded pulps determine the feasibility of water expulsion during tailings consolidation. As these conditions are largely established in the thickening stage, it is necessary to revisit operations, looking at the dam as a water source. Thus, a thorough understanding of the compressive properties that determine the level of consolidation of typical pulps and their relationships to aggregate properties, such as size and fractal dimension, is crucial. Here, the effect of two types of water, industrial water and synthetic seawater, on kaolin flocculation, sedimentation rate, yield stress, and compressive yield stress were studied. In addition, the relationship of these properties with the flocculant dose and the resulting aggregate size and fractal dimension was examined. One promising finding to practitioners was that salt and small doses of high molecular weight flocculant improved the consolidation of kaolin slurries under compression. These conditions generated low compressive yield stress compared to fresh water and water with low salt content, favoring the consolidation of the pulps and the release of water.
2022 - Avenida Brasil 2162, Valparaíso, en la Facultad de Ingeniería de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso.