The master plan
Developing a tailings pumping master plan is recommended as it provides the following benefits:
- Establishes the pumping needs for the years to come, typically a zero-to-five-year timeframe, as well as any modifications needed to the system.
- Implements the required capacity increases in a timely manner, taking into account the implementation timeframe (conceptual and feasibility studies, detailed engineering, procurement of major equipment and construction).
- Allows to plan the overall investment requirements for each year.
- Helps anticipate and schedule major investments.
- Avoids production losses associated with under-capacity systems.
- Secures geotechnical structures by complying with the filling plan for the tailings storage facility.
- Helps organize the replacement of some end-of-life components (preventive maintenance), if necessary.
Optimizing the use of existing equipment and deferring investments, whenever possible, can result in significant savings.
Furthermore, a periodic update of the master plan helps maintain an accurate portrayal and adjust strategies, based on how the process and tailings deposition evolve.
It is also best to verify the long-term high-level pumping requirements to plan major investments. Having a short-, medium- and long-term vision is a good way to optimize decision-making and promote strategic planning based on future needs, such as increased production, how the tailings storage facility evolves or the development of a new storage facility.