Forward Thinking: Pioneering the Use of Dry-Stack Tailings in Turkey and Greece

First to Construct a Dry Tailings Facility in Turkey

In 2006, Eldorado first began assessing the use of dry-stack tailings for its Efemçukuru project in Turkey.  “At the time, we were one of a handful of mining companies evaluating the technology, and were the first to permit and construct a dry-stack tailings facility in Turkey,” explains Paul Skayman, Eldorado’s Chief Operating Officer. “Efemçukuru uses dry-stack technology and has done so since it declared commercial production in 2011.”

Dry stack tailings at Efemçukuru, Turkey.
Dry stack tailings at Efemçukuru, Turkey.

Building a State-of-the-art Dry Tailings Facility in Greece

Eldorado is also deploying this best-available technology in Greece.  At Kokkinolakkas, Eldorado’s $100 million tailings management facility (TMF) in Halkidiki, dry tailings from Eldorado’s Olympias and Stratoni mines are stacked and separated from the surrounding environment by a 4-layer impermeable lining.

Laying liner for dry stack tailings at Kokkinolakkas, Greece.
Laying liner at Kokkinolakkas, Greece.

Tailings from previous mining activities in the area are also being cleaned up and transported to the central Kokkinolakkas facility.  This is part of Eldorado’s commitment to facilitate wider environmental rehabilitation in the Halkidiki area.

Stratos Zachareas at the Kokkinolakkas TMF

Stratos Zachareas, Stratoni Surface Operations Manager, responsible for the Kokkinolakkas TMF, says that the state-of-the-art facility is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping to keep dry-stack tailings stable and secure.

“Water diversion channels direct non-contact water away from the Kokkinolakkas facility, keeping tailings dry and immobile, while preventing water contamination,” he says.  “As dry-stack tailings are highly compact, less land is disturbed to store tailings, and the reclamation process, once mining activities are complete, is much easier.”

Water diversion channels divert non-contact water away from the Kokkinolakkas TMF
Water diversion channels divert non-contact water away from the Kokkinolakkas TMF

Reducing our Environmental Impacts in Greece

At Eldorado’s Kassandra Mines in Greece, which are comprised of three separate assets – Stratoni, Olympias and Skouries, we aim to minimize our environmental impacts throughout the lifecycle of our projects by using best available technologies, including dry-stack tailings, parallel reclamation efforts, and comprehensive monitoring systems. In 2017 alone, 51,000 m2 of land was reclaimed at the Kassandra Mines, which is an area larger than 10 football fields.

Subject to permit approval by Greek regulators we intend to use dry stack tailings at Skouries as well. This will:

  • Reduce the project’s environmental footprint by 40%
  • Recycle more water
  • Increase safety by reducing the geotechnical risks of the disposed tailings
  • Create an estimated 50 additional full-time jobs over the mine’s life

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