tailings flocculation and thickening

Expand your knowledge in tailings flocculation and thickening

November 3 - 12, 2020

Join us for a  course over four virtual sessions that offers participants a comprehensive understanding of tailings flocculation, thickening and rheology, developed in collaboration by the Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

 Oil Sands Tailings 101

Course Overview

The information presented will be relevant across many mining applications, although relevance to oil sands will be highlighted. 

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course participants will have gained valuable knowledge and best practices including:

  • Discriminate  between problems caused by product choice, the applied conditions, or unrealistic expectations 
  • Troubleshoot  for common feedwell flocculation operational and design issues
  • Modify  product selection and dosing strategies to achieve different performance goals
  • Determining how feed characteristics will impact expected flocculant and coagulant dosage
  • Identify  the limitations of techniques for rheometry with concentrated suspensions


Date: November 3, 5, 10 and 12, 2020
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location:  Online, LIVE


Day 1 Topics

Clays and DLVO theory

  • Definition of clay
  • Clay measurement methods
  • Importance of clays and DLVO theory to thickener application
  • Practical methods for assessing DLVO impact

Thickener troubleshooting, part 1

  • Feedwell challenges
  • Poor flocculation
  • Solids concentration effects

Day 2 Topics

Flocculants and flocculation

  • Definitions and theory of flocculation
  • What makes flocculation of mineral systems hard?
  • What makes feedwell flocculation even harder?

Polymer screening for thickener applications

  • Tests used at bench, pilot and commercial scale
  • Common pitfalls and how to avoid them in selecting a new polymer

Day 3 Topics

Polymer solution rheology

  • Definitions and theory
  • Factors that influence polymer solution viscosity and measurements
  • Rheology as a proxy for polymer activity

Thickener troubleshooting, part 2

  • Poor polymer make-down
  • Water chemistry challenges
  • Excess clay/feed variability challenges
  • Froth & Winter operations

Day 4 Topics

Application of suspension rheology to thickeners

  • Rheology of typical mineral processing thickener feeds
  • Rheology of fluid fine tailings
  • Implications of rheology on thickener operation and vice-versa

Thickeners and oil sands tailings management

  • History of thickening in oil sands
  • Why we care about thickening in oil sands
  • Special considerations for upstream and downstream integration of oil sands thickeners (i.e. recycling water back to extraction, water release, final landscape)

Register via Eventbrite

Course Instructors

Dr. Andrew Chryss

Dr. Andrew Chryss

B.E. (Chem) University of Melbourne
Ph.D. RMIT University 

After 20 years with the RMIT University’s Rheology and Materials Processing Centre, Andrew joined CSIRO in 2008, bringing extensive experience characterizing complex fluids (non-Newtonian, viscoelastic, multi-phase) in pipeline flow, free surface flow and mixing applications. He provided fluid/suspension characterization for AMIRA P266F, then was Research Co-ordinator for the AMIRA P1087 “Integrated Tailings Management” Project (2012-2015).

Andrew has established procedures to measure advanced rheology (oscillatory, extensional) on flocculant solutions, and successfully developed several instruments himself, including an online rheometer for underflow/tailings suspensions.

Dr. Phillip Fawell

Dr. Phillip Fawell

B.Sc. (Chem) University of Western Australia
Ph.D. Murdoch University

Phillip joined CSIRO in 1993 with the establishment of the Parker Centre, primarily to develop techniques for flocculant and aggregate characterization. He also contributed to the AMIRA P266 “Improving Thickener Technology” series of projects, later taking leadership of flocculation studies and then becoming overall Research Coordinator. He led the final stage of the project (P266G), as well as being responsible for technology transfer.

Phillip has conducted thickening appraisals and workshops around the world, also creating an online thickener self-appraisal tool for project sponsors that draws heavily upon the extensive P266 computational modelling of feedwell flocculation.

Dr. Heather Kaminsky, P.Eng

Dr. Heather Kaminsky, P.Eng

B.Sc. (Materials Eng) University of Alberta
Ph.D. (Materials Eng) University of Alberta

Heather joined NAIT’s Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability in 2016 as the Mine Research Lead after tenures at Suncor Energy and Total E&P Canada. Heather is now the NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Oil Sands Tailings Management. Her specialty in fundamental structures of clay and heavy minerals in oil sands has enhanced her work in advanced ore characterization, bitumen extraction, tailings, materials wear and corrosion, water treatment, water chemistry modelling and waste valorisation.

Heather has a passion for clays and tailings and hopes to play a key role in solving tailings as an issue for the oil sands industry. Heather was recently recognized by SHEInnovates as one of the women advancing innovation in Alberta.

Andrea Sedgwick, P.Eng

Andrea Sedgwick, P.Eng

B.Sc. (Mining Eng) University of Alberta
M.Eng (Engineering Management) University of Alberta

Andrea joined NAIT in 2015 and is the Ledcor Applied Research Chair at the Centre for Oil Sands Sustainability. Andrea has 24  years of  experience in coal and oil sands with 13 years of related tailings knowledge. Andrea has obtained a deep level of industrial research and development experience across all aspects of oil sands mining including the key focal areas of mining and ore characterization, water treatment, tailings management and bitumen extraction.

One of her key accomplishments includes initiating the COSIA Tailings Research Working Group and chairing it for three years, gaining a deep knowledge in tailings research questions and working with international tailings research projects through AMIRA/CSIRO.

Questions or inquiries about this workshop?

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