The Jibal Qutman Gold Project is located approximately 450 km east-southeast of Jeddah and 590 km southwest of Riyadh. The project is at an advanced stage of exploration with various pre-feasibility level studies, covering areas such as environmental impact and mineral processing, currently in progress. The current project is for 1 Mtpa throughput of ore with an eight-year mine life.
This tailings study formed part of the ongoing work by Kefi that was required ahead of their mining licence application. Knight Piésold was provided with survey information and preliminary mine site layouts, in particular, layouts showing the pits to be mined and proposed positions of the process plant and waste dumps. A preliminary location for possible tailings storage was also indicated. Knight Piésold visited the site to inspect this location and view a number of other locations, as well as collect information from the Kefi site team.
Knight Piésold commissioned Patterson and Cooke, specialists in tailings dewatering, to undertake a tailings dewatering study, including input into tailings transportation for the project.
The tailings management philosophy revolves around minimizing water consumption due to the project being located in an extremely low precipitation area and having to rely on groundwater supply for process water. Since cyanide is used in the gold extraction process, minimizing water in the tailings lowers the potential for seepage of water with cyanide into the ground. All of the design options considered in this study were based on paste thickened or filtered tailings. A range of dewatering techniques and transportation methods were assessed to determine the optimal solution for the project. The recommended solution has been incorporated into the company’s mining licence application.