The impact of GEOTUBE systems in dewatering mining and mineral process waste
GEOTUBE systems enhance mining waste management with high capacity, versatile applications, and cost-effective solutions.

By Norhisam Omar

2 April 2024

4 Min read


The impact of GEOTUBE systems in dewatering mining and mineral process waste


The mining and mineral processing industry has long grappled with the challenges of effectively managing waste and ensuring environmental sustainability. Enter the GEOTUBE® system, a revolutionary approach that has reshaped the landscape of mine waste management. This essay delves into the progression, application, and benefits of GEOTUBE systems, emphasizing their pivotal role in enhancing dewatering practices, environmental compliance, and cost efficiency in the mining sector.

Breaking new ground: high volume capacity

Traditionally, the dewatering of mineral, industrial, and agricultural waste slurries was constrained by the perceived limitations of geotextile tubes, particularly in handling large volumes. This perception has been dramatically overturned by advancements in the capacity of GEOTUBE systems. The advent of super-large units capable of handling over 3,000 m3 (105,944 ft3) per unit has facilitated their application in large-scale dewatering projects, challenging the conventional wisdom that these systems were unsuitable for high volume applications.

Market dynamics and innovations

The shift towards embracing GEOTUBE technology for more extensive applications is partly attributed to changes in market dynamics and the introduction of engineered solutions tailored to specific project needs. This strategic pivot has enabled the use of GEOTUBE systems in reprocessing old mineral-rich tailings, offering a sustainable alternative to the construction of new tailing storage facility (TSF) cells. The capability to handle substantial volumes while reducing the environmental footprint exemplifies the system's adaptability and effectiveness in modern mining operations.

Unparalleled versatility in application

The application versatility of GEOTUBE systems is a testament to their engineered flexibility, accommodating a wide range of project scales and types. From bulker-bag or skip-bin sized units to massive containers, these systems can be customized to meet diverse operational requirements. This versatility extends to various innovative applications, including the creation of slurry flow channels and the use of geotextile tubes as internal barrier walls, showcasing their capability to address complex dewatering challenges effectively.

Enhancing water and environmental management

Beyond their primary dewatering function, GEOTUBE systems have played a crucial role in water and environmental management within mining operations. By serving as filter bags, these systems retain contaminants, allowing for cleaner effluent discharge and significantly reducing environmental impact. Their integration into conventional mechanical dewatering processes to manage unexpected demand surges further illustrates their operational flexibility and contribution to maintaining production continuity.

Cost-effectiveness and economic viability

Comparing the cost-effectiveness of GEOTUBE systems against traditional mechanical dewatering plants reveals their economic advantages. The lower capital and operational costs, combined with their ability to handle a broader range of slurry types, make GEOTUBE units a financially attractive option. The systems' design considerations, including polymer dosing requirements and dry cake volume capacity, underscore their efficiency and the potential for substantial cost savings over conventional methods.

Polymer dosing and operational efficiency

The operational efficiency of GEOTUBE systems is significantly enhanced by optimized polymer dosing, which aids in particle settlement and improves effluent quality. This efficiency, coupled with the system's ability to supplement plant output during high demand periods or maintenance shutdowns, demonstrates its value as a versatile and cost-effective dewatering solution.

Facilitating end-of-life closure and environmental sustainability

The use of GEOTUBE systems in facilitating end-of-life closure of mining sites represents a critical advancement in environmental sustainability. By assisting in the reshaping of TSF profiles and compressing the volume of toxic slurry residue, these systems contribute to safer disposal practices and more secure storage solutions. The availability of high tenacity reinforcement geotextiles for capping large areas further reduces closure construction time and costs, highlighting the system's role in achieving more environmentally and economically viable closure outcomes.


The introduction and evolution of GEOTUBE systems have significantly impacted the mining and mineral processing industry, offering innovative solutions to longstanding challenges in waste management and environmental protection. Through advancements in capacity, application versatility, cost-effectiveness, and contributions to sustainable end-of-life closure practices, GEOTUBE systems have established themselves as an indispensable tool in the pursuit of operational efficiency and environmental stewardship in mining operations. As the technology continues to evolve, its role in shaping the future of mining waste management and environmental compliance is expected to grow, underscoring the importance of continuous innovation and adaptation in meeting the industry's challenges.