'Working together to promote premier, multi-disciplinary research and development in the area of minerals beneficiation'

Alex Hesketh

MSc (Eng) Project title

An integrated Approach to Base Metal Sulphide Tailings Management and AMD Mitigation
(Supervisors: Prof S Harrison, Dr J Broadhurst)

Graduated: 2010

This post-graduate project addressed the issue of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) from mine residue deposits of base metal sulfide mining operations, through the use of ‘sulfide-rich’ and ‘benign’ gangue classification. This classification is based on an understanding of key features of the mineral ore governing AMD generation, and the linkages between ore mineralogy, extraction processes with waste management and disposal practices. Laboratory tests conducted on a porphyry type copper sulfide ore have shown that ‘benign’ gangue can be effectively separated from tailings material using bulk flotation techniques, resulting in a significant reduction in AMD generation potential compared with conventional tailings.The environmental benefits are quantified through the use of static prediction tests as well as biokinetic tests. The theoretical and laboratory-scale studies conducted during the course of this period provide the basis for the development of a generic framework which is underpinned by a knowledge and understanding of the ‘sulfide-rich’ and ‘benign’ characteristics of a variety of sulfide ore bodies, and their related behaviour during subsequent processing and, ultimately, waste disposal.

Research Outputs
Research dissertation

Hesketh, A. 2010. An Integrated Approach to Base Metal Sulphide Tailings Management and AMD Mitigation. Masters dissertation, University of Cape Town

Peer-reviewed journal publications
Hesketh A.H., Broadhurst J.L. and Harrison S.T.L. (2010) Mitigating the generation of acid mine drainage from copper sulfide tailings impoundments in perpetuity: A case study for an integrated management strategy, Minerals Engineering 23(3): pp 225-229

Hesketh A.H., Broadhurst J.L., Bryan C.G., Van Hille R.P. and Harrison S.T.L. (2010) Biokinetic test for the characterisation of AMD generation potential of sulfide mineral wastes, Hydrometallurgy 104(3-4): 459-464

Harrison S.T.L., Hesketh A.H., Van Hille R.P. and Broadhurst J.L. (2009) Process focused on the prevention of AMD formation on beneficiating sulfide minerals, Advanced Materials Research 71-73: 685-688

Peer-reviewed conference proceedings
Broadhurst J.L., Hesketh A., Harrison S.T.L. (2009) An integrated approach to the management of sulphide tailings and mitigation of acid mine drainage. 8th International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage (ICARD 2009), Skelefteå, Sweden, June, 2009 (available on line at

Oral conference presentations
Hesketh A.H., Broadhurst J.L. and Harrison S.T.L. (2009) Mitigating the generation of acid mine drainage from copper sulphide tailings impoundments in perpetuity: An integrated management strategy, Sustainability through Resource Conservation and Recycling (SRCR 09), Cape Town, 4-5 April, 2009

Hesketh A.H., Broadhurst, J.L. and Harrison S.T.L. (2008) An integrated approach to mineral sulphide tailings management and AMD mitigation. SAIMM Mineral Processing Conference, Cape Town, 7-8 August 2008.