Industry Leaders

Gerente Técnico y de Desarrollo Cía. Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi, Chile Gerente Técnico y de Desarrollo Cía. Minera Doña Inés de Collahuasi, Chile

Constantino Suazo

“Balancing environmental regulations with economic benefits is a challenge for all mining companies”

As the Chair of the First International Seminar on Tailings Management, Tailings 2013, Constantino Suazo said one of the challenges facing mining companies today is the duality that is generated by the aim to be sustainable and at the same time generate profit from a mining project.

What does it mean for you to have been invited to be Chair of the first Tailings seminar?
For me it is truly an honour and at the same time a great responsibility to help coordinate the first Tailings seminar that will take place in Chile, especially because this is a very sensitive topic for all mining companies, both national and international. My intention is that we organise a very attractive seminar in order to convene both professionals from mining production companies, consulting and/or engineering firms as well as research centres, to make the seminar beneficial for everyone.

Why do you say that this is a sensitive topic for the mining industry?
Today, especially in this country, there are many mining projects and production companies where environmental and regulatory restrictions make it so the projects face problems from the technical point of view in terms of trying to resolve them in a way that is economically beneficial and at the same time both operationally and environmentally sustainable.

How has the experience been improving the area of Tailings management in Chile?
Lately, mining companies have experienced increased costs both in operations and in their projects. From the point of view of tailings management and sustainability, companies have had to assume certain costs, seeking new technologies as well as thickening deposits, in order to meet environmental regulations, maximise water recirculation processes and to ensure their stability.

In addition, mining companies are looking for different technologies available that will enable them to close their plants in environmentally friendly conditions while avoiding unnecessary costs, preventing negative environmental impacts or other types of issues after closing operations.

Within the large topic of tailings management what subtopics are seem the most interesting and might be relevant for authors who will participate in Tailings 2013?
Without a doubt, today many mining companies are studying processes that allow them to maximise the use of recycled water, either to reduce fresh water consumption or to achieve higher processing capabilities with less make-up. For example, currently there is great interest in everything that concerns the design and operation of thickened tailings, in pastes or filtrates, as well as in production mining companies with conventional dams. I think all matters relating to technologies that will improve water recovery from the thickeners, as well as the design and/or operation of the tailings dams that can increase the percentage of water recovered will be of great interest.

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