Water Management at Europe’s largest Nickel Mine

Treatment of water contaminated by sulphates and heavy metals

Posted on 4 February 2016


Faced with full water-storage basins after record rainfall on the one hand, and a halt in mining activity due to water in the deepest section of the open cast mine on the other. Europe’s largest nickel mine at Talvivaara, Finland, was challenged once more in 2012 when a tailings pond containing gypsum sediment began leaking. 1.2 M m3 out of a total of 1.4M m3 was successfully captured inside the safety dams and other pools in Talvivaaras’ industrial area. Despite the fact that the leak was plugged in 10 days, 220,000m3 of effluent was not contained. By the end of 2012 the water-balance problem affecting the mine could not be met with the existing treatment capacity. 


To realize a technically sound and a financially feasible solution to restore the water balance in the effluent that leaked out of the tailings pond. To capture heavy metal contaminations present in discharged process sludge and waste water.


A system was implemented using TenCate Geotube® containers to capture the heavy metals. Concentrations of heavy metals fell well below the threshold limits set by the local environmental authorities. As a result, Talvivaara was able to start up oremining and crushing operations again.

Current status
Talvivaare Mine can be operated in compliance with the  environmental regulations.

Technologies used

TenCate Geotube® dewatering technology

Project location

Project partners

  • TenCate Geosynthetics