Fayalite tailings pond, owned and operated by Aurubis Bulgaria

Aurubis Bulgaria AD is the leading copper producing plant in South-Eastern Europe, part of Aurubis Group with headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, located in the town of Pirdop, Bulgaria. The main activity of the company is the processing of copper concentrates, production of copper cathodes and copper anodes as well as by-products such as sulphuric acid and fayalite.

Quick Facts

Purpose: Fayalite tailings pond

Location: Pirdop, Bulgaria

Client: Aurubis Bulgaria AD

Services provided: Investigation and design of the various stages of design and construction.


The copper production plant has four main production units: smelter, refinery, acid plant, and flotation plant, as the fayalite waste from the flotation process of the metallurgical slag is disposed in a tailings pond built on an area in the northern part of Aurubis Bulgaria AD, Pirdop town, at the bottom of the south slope of Stara Planina mountain. The plain was built in 1958, as in the last 10 years were invested more than 500 million euro in the modernization of the plant and for protection of environment.

The existing fayalite tailings pond, with an area of approximately 32 ha and useful volume of 3 379 000 m3, is a hillside type with earth-filled enclosing dikes. Fayalite waste from the Flotation Plant is transported as slurry that is re-pumped along steel pipelines and is disposed within the pond.

The existing fayalite tailings pond is built up in three stages, in the period from 2001 to 2014, as follows:

  • Stage I: construction of an enclosing dike to elevation 783, implemented in the period 2001 - 2002;

  • Stage II:  raising of enclosing dike to elevation 791 by an additional fill on the downstream slope, implemented in the period 2006 - 2008;

  • Stage III: raising of enclosing dike to elevation 794.0 m, implemented in 2014,

as Sweco Energoproekt Jsc has provided the following services:

  • Investigations and Conceptual design for Stages II and III;

  • Detailed design for Stage II; and

  • Detailed design for Stage III.

Aurubis 1


In 2012 Sweco Energoproekt Jsc obtained an assignment to perform investigations and to prepare conceptual and detailed design for extension of the existing fayalite tailings pond on a new area of approximately 44.66 ha, to the south of the existing tailings pond. In the design is foreseen to be implemented 8 (eight) successive stages of construction of the enclosing dikes, up to elevation 794, with operation of the tailings facility at stages. The approximate time period for filling of the pond area is 24 years and 8 months.

In 2015 was completed the design and the construction work has begun.

Aurubis Bulgaria AD produced 8% of the total export of Bulgaria in 2014 and is one of the biggest investors and employers in the region of Srednogorie (Pirdop and Zlatitsa towns), Bulgaria. The extension of the fayalite disposal area will contribute to the long-term development of this region.

Aurubis 2

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