Mining and Minerals Engineering

CSMM436 - Material Handling, Dewatering and Waste Management (2020)

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MODULE TITLEMaterial Handling, Dewatering and Waste Management CREDIT VALUE15
MODULE CODECSMM436 MODULE CONVENERDr Robert Fitzpatrick (Coordinator)
Number of Students Taking Module (anticipated) 10
DESCRIPTION - summary of the module content

The module gives graduates from a range of disciplines the opportunity to study the fundamentals of material handling, dewatering and waste management associated with the minerals industry. These three areas are key to the successful operation of a mine and processing plant. This module could be taken on its own to provide a valuable insight into important processes in the mining cycle. When linked to other specific modules, it forms part of the specialist training for the MSc in Minerals Engineering.

If you take this module, you should have a reasonable understanding of physical chemistry and heat/mass transfer and would benefit from a basic knowledge of mathematics. Support and guidance in self-study to improve understanding in these areas can be provided. This module is suitable for non-specialist students and those on interdisciplinary pathways.

AIMS - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the practicalities associated with the flow of material between unit operations in a mineral processing plant and the methods used to manage waste material generated during processing. This subject area is of vital importance to the successful operation of a processing plant. Specifically, the module aims to provide you with knowledge of:

- Materials Handling: the storage and movement of material between unit operations, including methods of process control;

- Dewatering: solid-liquid separations which often precedes the movement of material;

- Waste Management: safe storage, disposal and re-use of the streams of material from the processing plant considered of no economic value.

Current trends and innovations in the above subject areas will be discussed alongside advances in process control.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs) (see assessment section below for how ILOs will be assessed)

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:

1 Understand the basic unit operations and latest processes used in materials handling in the context of the extractive minerals industry including an understanding of how process control may be integrated into these processes;

2 Understand the role of de-watering in mineral processing operations and the principles which underpin typical de-watering devices used in the extractive minerals industry;

3 Describe current methods for the disposal of waste streams from processing plants and explain the relative environmental impacts of these methods;

4 Explain the drivers and typical techniques employed for the re-processing of waste material and innovations in this area;

5 Assess current industry trends and describe the latest innovations in techniques and equipment;

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:

6 Select and use appropriate computer based tools for analysis, design and communication of designs;

Personal and Key Transferable/ Employment Skills and Knowledge:

7 Obtain and process information from a wide range of sources, which may be conflicting, analyse it critically and apply this information in engineering applications;

8 Communicate effectively and persuasively using the full range of currently available methods;

9 Learn independently, plan and manage self-study time and tasks; accessing additional resources to provide sufficient independent study in support of the syllabus.

SYLLABUS PLAN - summary of the structure and academic content of the module

Materials Handling Topics:

- Dry material handling: introduction to the techniques used to store and move material when dry and the mineral characteristics which affect these. Includes the use of stockpiles and bins, conveyors, chutes, truck and train haulage and pneumatic transport. Descriptions of the latest techniques, their application and basic principles will be discussed;

- Wet material/slurry handling: introduction to the techniques used to store and move slurries and the mineral and slurry properties which affect these. The nature of slurry flow will be described along with the use of ponds and tanks, different pump types and pipelines and launders. Descriptions of the latest techniques, their application and basic principles will be discussed;

- Process Control: introduction to the basics of process control and how this can be adopted to improve stability in material flow in a processing plant;

Dewatering (Solid-Liquid Separation) Topics:

- Thickening: introduction to the use of thickeners in the extractive minerals industry to partially dewater slurries and control the fraction of solids contained. Descriptions of thickener designs will be discussed alongside the latest developments and the basic principles which underpin their use;

- Filtration: introduction to the use of filtration in the extractive minerals industry to generate solids with low moisture content. Descriptions of typical filtration devices, their application and latest developments and basic principles will be discussed;

- Drying: introduction to drying used in the extractive minerals industry as a final stage in solid-liquid separation to remove all free water from material by the application of thermal energy. The basic principles of thermal drying will be discussed as well as typical devices used for drying, their application,  latest developments and basic principles will be discussed;

Waste Management Topics:

- Waste disposal techniques: introduction to the various methods used to dispose of material streams designated as having no economic value. This will include the use of tailings ponds and backfill including paste backfill. The basic principles involved in these techniques will be described alongside a discussion of their potential environmental impact and how this links to the mineralogy and processing techniques used in a plant;

- Re-processing waste streams: discussion of the increased interest in the re-processing of waste streams. This will include re-processing of current operating mines and of historic waste material. The principle drivers for this interest as well as the techniques employed and environmental implications will be discussed;

Overview Topics:

- Professional skills development: tutorial sessions will be dedicated to further developing good practice in team working and planning and managing time effectively. It will build on the outcomes of similar work in other modules. This will will be formatively assessed by a group posters on topics related to Material Handling, Dewatering and Waste Management;

Laboratory Exercises:

- Laboratory exercises will be undertaken in selected processes associated with materials handling, de-watering and waste management;

Health and Safety Engagement:

- The health and safety implications related to materials handling, dewatering and waste management will be covered. This will include discussion of safe handling of material including dust control and use of chemicals, safety aspects of industrial processes and safe lab practices.

Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities 34.00 Guided Independent Study 116.00 Placement / Study Abroad 0.00
Category Hours of study time Description
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity 20 Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity 8 Tutorials supporting lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity 6 Laboratory practicals
Guided Independent Study 116 Private Study


FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT - for feedback and development purposes; does not count towards module grade
Form of Assessment Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Prior Knowledge and Skills e-Assessment 100 word equivalent 1-5 Electronic supported by verbal, if required
Group Poster and Individual Report Equivalent to 500 words 1-5, 7-8 Written feedback from peers and tutor


Coursework 40 Written Exams 60 Practical Exams 0
Form of Assessment % of Credit Size of Assessment (e.g. duration/length) ILOs Assessed Feedback Method
Report on individually selected aspect of the module 20 1800 word equivalent 1-9 Electronic or written
Calculation sheet covering aspects of materials handling, dewatering and waste management 20 1000 word equivalent 1-6 Electronic or written
Examination 60 2 hours 1-5, 9 Personal Tutor


DETAILS OF RE-ASSESSMENT (where required by referral or deferral)
Original Form of Assessment Form of Re-assessment ILOs Re-assessed Time Scale for Re-assessment
Coursework Coursework 1-9 Ref/def period
Examination Examination 1-5, 9 Ref/def period


INDICATIVE LEARNING RESOURCES - The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of
information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener

Basic reading:


Web based and Electronic Resources:

Online version of Wills, B.A. and Finch, J., Wills' Mineral Processing Technology: An Introduction to the Practical Aspects of Ore Treatment and Mineral Recovery, (8th edition). Butterworth-Heinemann, (2015):

Online version of King, R.P., 6.4 Mechanical Dewatering of Slurries, in Modeling and Simulation of Mineral Processing Systems (2nd Edition), Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME), (2001):



Reading list for this module:

There are currently no reading list entries found for this module.

ORIGIN DATE Wednesday 18 December 2019 LAST REVISION DATE Wednesday 18 December 2019
KEY WORDS SEARCH Material Handling; Dewatering; Waste Management; Pumping; Conveyors; Slurry Transport; Thickening; Filtration; Drying, Tailings Pond; Paste Backfill; Acid Mine Drainage; Acid Rock Drainage