Jack Caldwell - Mining Engineer - Robertson GeoConsultants

You will need to access the SME One Mine Library to get the earliest papers on filter pressing of tailings. Here are interesting points from some—but do go and read the whole paper in each case—they are fascinating:

A proposed filter-press slimes plant by Francis L. Bosque (1903). He writes: “The following paper embodies a report which I made on the filter-press treatment of slimes at the Liberty Bell mine, Telluride, Colo. At the time this report was submitted, the management deemed it wiser to defer the installation of so costly a plant as the one required, in the hope that some of the many investigators in the field might soon evolve a cheaper and more perfect method of slimes-treatment, and one better suited to the conditions at Telluride.”

The importance of fine-grinding in the cyanide-treatment of gold-and silver-ores by Frederick C. Brown (1906). He writes: “My experience has shown that the average loss of undissolved gold and silver in the slimes is small; but in some mills using the decantation-process, a very considerable loss takes place in the final solution carried away with the slimes which are discharged after treatment. This loss in the slimes could be obviated by the use of filter-press, but the necessary plant is very expensive to install, and, unless a mine has assured large ore-reserves, it is sometimes risky to expend the capital.”

The disposal of residues at Kalgoorlie by Harry Adams (1909). He writes in one magnificent sentence: “Originally the conditions in this district varied mainly in the position of the mill, some mills having an elevated site with plenty of dumping space for the time being, whilst others had a flat site, and very little dumping space near at hand; but in most cases the residue discharged was in the form of filter-press cakes, suitable for conveying on belts, or in trucks, and stacking in a high dump; and, while a portion of the residue was used for underground filling, the dump was regarded as valuable asset, to be re-treated later. “

There are more, but this is not a history lesson. So I leave you to One Mine.