Future Element JV to Perform Tailings Dewatering Studies using ATA® Technology for BHP
29 January 2024
Clean TeQ Water JV, Future Element, has joined Unearthed’s Think and Act Differently (TAD) program. The TAD program is powered by BHP and allows innovators to engage in short experiments designed to de-risk ideas and fast-track technological breakthroughs. Future Element has joined the Essentials Minerals Cohort and will receive funding, mentoring, access to subject experts, and samples needed to undertake the testing.
Future Element, together with Clean TeQ Water, will be participating in a 3 month program of testwork to prepare conceptual flowsheets, which can be applied to BHP’s existing and future operations, for tailings dewatering based on the ATA® technology. The testwork aims to rapidly dewater slurries to produce dry stack tailings, while making the critical minerals contained immediately available for recovery. The successful completion of the 3 month program would lead to on-site piloting and eventual commercial-scale demonstrations.
Founded in 2021, Think & Act Differently (TAD) are a human first technology and resource development ecosystem where the brightest minds come together from inside and outside the mining sector to tackle complex issues, challenge norms and find new ways to extract minerals that benefit society. TAD is focussed on accelerating the mine design process and creating pathways for the integration of technologies required to build modern mines. Through TAD’s challenges and ecosystem, they have supported over 40 companies and innovators to develop and implement their technologies on commercial scale. TAD has supported innovators with millions of dollars in funding for experiments, as well as connections to new customers, technical experts, and mentors.
The ATA® technology was developed to offer a secure and low-cost mine tailings treatment process by rapidly separating water and solids to produce stackable dry tailings and recycled water. The technology uses smart chemistry to rapidly agglomerate the solids in ore slurries. The solids dewater under their own gravity, removing the need for high capital and operating cost pressured filtration used in the industry today. The resulting materials can be compressed and stacked, with the extracted water being returned to recycle (or sent for recovery of dissolved metals), dramatically reducing water usage. In underground mining operations the compact material may also be used for backfilling, with or without binder.
Mine waste dewatering presents an enormous market opportunity for Clean TeQ. Tailings management is a significant environmental and safety challenge for the industry, particularly for mines in tropical climates where natural evaporation rates are low, or where seismic activity increases geotechnical risks. As environmental bonding requirements increase in response to higher perceived risk in managing tailings storage facilities, ATA®’s unique rapid and low-cost dewatering offering will enhance the mining industry’s environment credentials while lowering operating and mine site rehabilitation costs.
About Future Element
Clean TeQ Water established a 50/50 Joint Venture (JV) Future Element Operations Pty Ltd (“FEJV”) with mine tailings management company Future Element Pty Ltd. FEJV provides holistic solutions to rehabilitate tailings and water and is targeting sites with the potential for production of valuable products from current and historic tailings at both operating and legacy mine sites. FEJV’s bespoke and end-to-end solutions will use Clean TeQ technology for the recovery of metals and minerals, treatment of water to be discharged or recycled and rehabilitated land ready for release back to communities.