Phibion rolls out fully autonomous mine tailings management systems

Phibion's new autonomous Dart MudMaster, making tailings dams safer, smaller and more sustainable. Image supplied by Phibion. Image credit: Phibion

Brisbane-based Phibion has launched world-first fully autonomous mine tailings management systems designed to operate around the clock in the most challenging waste environments.

The amphibious technology, dubbed “MudMaster,” is coupled with the company’s patented accelerated mechanical consolidation (AMC), offering speedier mine rehabilitation and safer tailings dam management at sites in Australia, Jamaica, Chile, and Brazil.

In a news release, Phibion revealed that the new autonomous Dart MudMaster increases productivity and cost savings for mine operators while enhancing community safety and environmental benefits.

According to Jacques Janse, chief executive officer of Phibion, Queensland’s resource sector experience and world-leading sophisticated manufacturing skills make it the natural home for this technology.

“Our commitment to innovation and safety, along with the support of leading researchers and the Queensland Government, have enabled Phibion to take this technology to the world,” Janse said.

Phibion stated that tailings are produced in almost every mining and refining activity, and they can become a severe safety concern if not handled properly, causing legacy difficulties for the surrounding people and the environment.

Thus, the MudMaster technology solution works by rapidly dewatering and consolidating the material to build strength and free up space for subsequent deposition at a fraction of the cost of previous capital-intensive alternative solutions.

Based on a remotely given operating plan, the autonomous machine can run for a longer period of time before returning to a predetermined set-down region, boosting performance and increasing fuel efficiency.

According to Janse, autonomous operations allowed the Dart MudMaster to function in the most difficult tailings situations, which are generally unsafe for employees owing to toxic material exposure.

“We see this as a game-changer for mining tailings management and land rehabilitation projects around the globe,” Janse added.

Unveiled at the pre-eminent gathering of the global mining and resources industry, World Mining Congress 2023, in Brisbane, Australia from 26 to 29 June, the Dart MudMaster can halve in-situ tailings volume and deliver a 40 per cent improvement in water recovery for operational reuse.

The Dart MudMaster will be commercially available on 1 July  2023.