Tailings are materials produced from mining such as milled rock and effluents. In many cases, massive quantities of these materials, regarded as waste, are left from previous operations. Given the potential health and environmental risks associated with tailings, they could be viewed as problems or project deterrents, but then again, they could be viewed as a source of cash.
Despite the best of efforts, mining operations do not achieve 100 percent recovery rates. But that is not bad news for Titus Mining Group. The company have been working on new procedures to further the efficiency of its extraction capabilities. Failure to extract all the metal from mined materials may present profitable opportunities as Titus Mining are on the verge of being able to economically reprocess waste materials.
Tailings projects underway
A number of companies are exploring or embarking upon tailings projects. Titus Mining Group announced plans to commence production from tailings in May or June 2018.
According to the company, the Yin Riluo project in the South-Western region of Tibet involves reprocessing high-grade silver refractory tailings that were accumulated at the Yin Riluo mine in 2017.
Titus Mining is expecting to recover 600,000 ounces of silver over the mine’s life from this source.
In March 2018, Lee Qin, Chairman & CEO, said “If current prices are maintained for the first two years of operations, profits over the years would be expected to increase significantly, which would result in noticeable early cash flow and therefore increased profits for our shareholders.”
Titus Mining are looking for cash flow from waste materials. The company announced its intentions for a silver tailings project in Lhasa City, Chengguan District of Southern Tibet where it has access to materials accumulated from production at the Yin Riluo site since extraction began.
The tailings program was initiated last July, with a one-year proposed work plan to achieve production. Other objectives set for the project include developing infrastructure for future mining and developing in-house production experience.
Titus Mining Group hopes to operate the Yin Riluo Tailings project while finalizing drilling and testing at the mine. Before embarking on that plan, the miner will first conduct further validation sampling and metallurgical testing to reconfirm tonnages, grades, and recovery of the precious metals values.
How metal is to be recovered from tailings is an issue of particular importance, as it will factor heavily into the success of the project. There are several options that could be considered, and the circumstances surrounding them, such as costs and recovery rates, can vary.
Titus Mining have concluded that the Merrill Crowe method is the best to evaluate the tailing recovery cost/reward ratio. They will also be using an option known as the Albion process.
If Titus Mining’s tailings project is successful, it will do more than provide the company with cash flow. The reprocessed waste produced will be moved to a location where it will be recycled into building materials, helping toward community programs such as lack of housing and homelessness.