Polymer Amended Tailings Stability for Optimum Rehabilitation Outcome

Tailings rehabilitation towards soil-like properties with chemical and physical stability can be adversely affected by surface forces and microstructure. It may, for example, be favoured by non-homogeneous structures giving conditions favourable for plant growth (distinct permeability/porosity, optimal proportion of aerated and water filled pores); in soils this manifests as particle aggregation. 

Polymer-flocculation of tailings in thickeners yields large, weak aggregates that are sheared and compressed in beds and on pumping. While low level residual structure may remain, sizes are small and downstream polymer impacts minor. However, “in-pipe flocculation”, where polymer is added at high dosages, gives new (likely denser) aggregation, releasing much more water on deposition. This process is poorly understood – some are concerned short-term gains in water return are balanced by structures that persist and limit consolidation, but if that is so, it potentially offers rehabilitation benefits. If such advantages can be proved and even enhanced, it provides impetus for wide applications.

 

Researcher biography

Bachelors and Master's degree in chemical engineering from Armirkabir University of Technology (Polytechnic of Tehran). During master's project, Mohammad focused on preparation and application of polymeric nanocomposite membranes for wastewater treatment. Using a porous polymeric membrane for wastewater treatment operation widened his knowledge about different data analyses and characterising techniques.

Industry 

After graduation from University, Mohammad found a chance to be employed in a company related to oil and gas (M-I Services) for almost three years as a chemical engineer for doing some activities related to wastewater management and also drilling fluids.

Funding

UQ Research Training Scholarship

Supervisor

Dr Mansour Edraki & Associate Professor Thomas Baumgartl