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Increasing water recovery in tailings thickening and transport processes


Deadline 06/04/2021

Closing Time

Codelco El Teniente Division is defining its water resources strategy in the short, medium and long term, in order to face the water crisis that the country is currently experiencing, climate change, possible changes in legislation and the requirements of the society.


Objective and scope

Identify technological solutions (equipment, chemicals, methodology and sensors) needed to reduce consumption – in tailings duct and thickener discharge.


Solution requirements

The proposed technological solution should consider the following requirements:

  • It must be compatible with existing plant equipment and tailings transport systems.
  • Minimal interference during implementation and operation stages.
  • Do not generate adverse effects in later stages of the process.
  • Comply with the safety and environmental standards of Codelco El Teniente Division.


Excluded solutions

Advisory services, consulting or engineering studies will not be considered in the background evaluation process.


Under current operating conditions, a solids percentage of 56 to 57% is achieved in the thickener discharge, given the rheological condition of the tailings and the current transport system to the tailings dam.



  • Non-compliance with the mining plan due to stoppage of operations.
  • Copper production losses.


Problem occurrence

On dry years (Exceedance probability [AEP] 98%)


Current solution

Under current conditions it is possible to increase the percentage of solids, affecting the reliability of the water recovery equipment.


Attempted technologies

No technological tests have been performed to date.