Mineral occurrence and its influence on the design of a tailin gs dam facility; focus on gold
Different minerals and their associated gangue display different physical and chemical characteristics. These properties influence the treatment of these minerals during extraction and the separation processes.In addition, different ores are subjected to different processing methods and treatments due to their difference in mineral associations and characteristics.This results to the production of different types of wastes which consist of the remaining fine grained (1-600um) ground up rock after extraction of minerals of value from mined ore, associated process water composed of dissolved metals and traces of ore processing reagents. It is important to note that most deposits available for extraction and processing are of lower grade and more complex often containing deleterious elements that require tailored treatments increasing the volumes of wastes produced. Determining the mineral occurrence and its associated recovery process will help identify the constituents of the processing plant waste and hence can be used to optimise the design of a tailings facility thereby improving its environmental, social and economic impacts. Tailings dam account for most mining related environmental incidents. With the unprecedented rate of mining and mineral processing over the past decade, there has been an increasing level of concern worldwide about the fate of tailings and the irreversible consequences of contaminant release through dust, tailings dam seepage, dam wall failure, or direct disposal of tailings into waterways. This paper focuses on gold occurrence and its influence in the design of a tailings dam facility with a case of greenstone hosted gold in Western Kenya.