The objective of Paste 2008 was to promote technologies that reduce water usage by mining operations as well as to advance the use of environmentally superior management of mine residues.
Mining operations need large quantities of water to extract minerals from the ore. Competition for this scarce resource and, more importantly, the need to sustain mining operations, requires companies to find technologies to reduce the quantity of water they use. When water is extracted from the final residue for reuse or recycling, less new water is required, hence the focus on paste and thickened tailings. Besides saving water, the surface area required to store the mining residue will decrease as more water is extracted from it. The drier material can be used to fill up the old mined-out excavations. In addition, this material is easier to rehabilitate. The immediate and long-term environmental benefits are obvious.