We’re creating a world
without tailings dams

Tailings dams are expensive liabilities that present unacceptable levels of risk.
We partner with mining companies to economically rehabilitate their tailings
to unlock value, clean the water, and restore the land.

Tailings management
has changed

Tailings are an inevitable part of mining but it’s no longer acceptable for them to be a waste product that pollutes the land and water.

 

They are expensive to store and manage, a balance sheet liability, and a threat to the environment and local communities.

 

This is not sustainable.

 

Some mining operations have unlocked their tailings. Changing them from a liability into a valuable asset. They have found efficient ways to extract the valuable metals, clean the water, and restore the land.

Mining needs
to evolve

The cost of sticking with the current approach to tailings management is immense and growing.

 

Tailings dams continue to threaten communities around the world.

 

Tailings storage ties up land and water, which could be reused or repurposed, and needs to be managed and monitored for
at least decades. Not only is it expensive, it creates huge balance sheet liabilities.

 

Also, valuable precious metals and critical minerals remain unrecovered in tailings. This is wasteful and inefficient.

 

With mining operations built around maximising net present value, the “fight” for capital means economic recovery of metals from tailings is deprioritised.

  • -60%

    new discoveries
    compared to 30 years ago, despite 3x higher exploration expenditure
  • 20%

    capital expenditure
    in realised projects, compared to budget or forecasted amount
  • -11$Bn

    y-o-y investment
    in Greenfield projects until 2026 due to a lack of approved and financed new projects

There’s far more value tied up in tailings than most mining companies realise

Miners who fully adopt the economic rehabilitation of tailings will become the natural owners of the growth of our industry.

When done properly, this process eliminates risks and liabilities. It unlocks the value of the wasted metals and creates new sources of revenue from repurposed land and water.

Smart miners will create more sustainable, more profitable businesses that are safer and cleaner for everyone around them. With a stronger balance sheet and enhanced social license, they can expand operations more easily, moving towards a world with no tailings dams.

  • 283

    Billion tones
    Estimated tailings in 8,500 active, inactive and closed storage facilities:
  • 79 %

    Estimated tailings in 8,500 active, inactive and closed storage facilities:
Copper
solar, wind, hydro, electricity networks, EVs and battery storage
200Mt contained copper (in 46% of tailings)
equivalent to 20 years of new production required by 2040 (9.5Mtpa)
Nickel
wind, concentrating solar, EVs, geothermal, nuclear, hydrogen
14Mt contained nickel (in 2% of tailings)
equivalent to 4 years of new production required by 2040 (3.9Mtpa)
Zinc & Lead
wind, hydro, concentrating solar and batteries (lead)
130Mt contained zinc+lead (in 3% of tailings)
equivalent to 32 years of new production required by 2040 (4.0Mtpa)
Gold
semiconductors and electronics
200Mt contained gold (in 21% of tailings)
equivalent to 4 years of 2022 demand (112Mozpa)
Other Critical Metals
Up to 1% of tailings
Lithium: EVs and battery storage
Cobalt: EVs and battery storage
REEs: Wind, EVs and battery storage, hydrogen

Create sustainable sources of metals & minerals

Our economic rehabilitation process transforms tailings into beneficial elements. It removes contaminants to take care of legacy issues for mine closure, separates solids and water for recycling, then returns them to their source.

Plan de travail 1

Traditional
rehabilitation:

Deferring rehabilitation increases the risk of closure time extension and (potentially uncapped) costs due to regulatory changes

Lost opportunity: Once rehabilitated, the costs to recover valuable metal and the permitting to re-disturb site can make tailings metal recovery uneconomic

Future Element

Economic
rehabilitation
model:

Progressive and economic rehabilitation of tailings reduces costs for tailings storage & final rehabilitation, accelerates mine closure, and provides a path to reduce environmental bonding and balance sheet liabilities for mining companies

Remnant value of metal in tailings dam is recovered and used to offset costs for rehabilitation. Depending on metal value, the aim is to produce net profit from tailings

Future Element

A new way to manage tailings

You can now unlock your tailings to offset costs. Not only can you profitably recover precious metals and minerals, but you can repurpose the water and solids to enhance host communities.

The full potential of economic rehabilitation extends far beyond the metal, land, and water produced from tailings:

  • A positive legacy, enhancing reputation with all stakeholders
  • Sustainable metals from tailings and water
  • Offset costs & turn tailings into a profit center
  • Fully-funded services, taking rehabilitation off balance sheet

Service offering

There’s a simple way for you to progressively rehabilitate your site and recover valuable metals from your tailings at the same time.

 
Partnering with us gives you access to our proven execution model and we manage and fund the entire process for you.

 
Our team has a strong track record of developing, funding, and operating New Century mine and deep understanding of all aspects of mining operations.

  • Tailings & waste transport
    learn more

    Traditionally it was difficult to recover useful elements from tailings. We now have the right combination of technology and expertise to make this easy and profitable.

    Our metal recovery, rapid dewatering, and low-energy water treatment technologies are safe and proven at other operations. And they won’t disrupt your current operations.

  • Metal & mineral recovery
    learn more

    Remnant metals economically recovered to offset tailings or final deposition costs

    Remove environmentally harmful tails/water content

    Products integrated with current streams or new products created

     

    Including:


    • Hydraulic mining
    • Dredging
    • Truck & shovel
  • Dewatering & deposition
    learn more

    Optimised technologies for dewatering and deposition in the final location

    Integrated solutions with current operations to ensure tailings footprint is minimised and backfill is maximised

     

    Including:


    • Advanced Dewatering
    • Optimised Backfill
    • Dry Stacking
  • Water treatment & recovery
    learn more

    Good water management is crucial to reputation and sustaining mining operations in an increasingly volatile climate

    Combination of water recycling and targeted/customised water treatment employed

     

    Including:


    • Metal recovery
    • Contaminant removal
    • Evaporation
  • Rehabilitation & repurposing
    learn more

    Based on closure plan and land release requirements, disturbed areas will be rehabilitated using best-in-class practices, revegetation, and continuous monitoring practices

     

    Including:


    • Land formation
    • Cap & Revegetation
    • Repurposing

Service scope

We’re responsible for the complete scope from concept development through to operational execution and ultimate relinquishment.

Commercial model

We move tailings management and rehabilitation off your balance sheet via one of two contract structures, customised for each project:

 

Services + Metal Recovery

Services (only)

Contract structure
Fee-based (fixed / variable cost basis)
Future Element
Future Element
Agreed key performance metrics
Life of tailings
Life of tailings
Long-term contract (life of tailings)
JV (% equity ownership by client and Future Element)
Future Element
Commercials
Operating profit
Distributed to Joint Venture shareholders
Distributed to miner, less payments to Future Element
Saleable products
Sold by Joint Venture either to client or to third party
Sold by client
Future Element remuneration
Distribution from JV
Base operation fee plus performance-based payments
Operating cost accountability
Joint Venture
Future Element, with agreed key performance metrics
Capital
Capital contribution, incl. working & sustaining capex
Relative to % ownership of JV
By Future Element
Capital payback
Potential for loan-carry between JV shareholders
Built into contract, payments to Future Element for capital payback
Environmental bonding & liability
Liability ownership and bonding responsibility1
Remains with mining company
Remains with mining company
  • Revenue from metal recovery offsets rehabilitation costs
  • Increases site reportable metal production
  • Allows flexibility in fee structure and funding options via metal exposure
  • Single-source accountability for tailings and water management
  • KPIs structured to minimise cost and maximise rehabilitation

Technology & Partners

We’re partnering with top-tier miners, mining technology companies and OEMs to provide robust, adaptable & autonomous solutions.

  • Metal recovery, advanced dewatering and water treatment platform technologies cleanteqwater.com

Our team

Resources

Reports and presentations

Media

Contact