Nils Steward FAusIMM

Nils Steward FAusIMM

General Manager, Operations and Development, Weir Technical Centre

Weir Minerals

Nils Steward is a global expert in the field of tailings handling solutions, with over 30 years of experience in mining.    

Educated in South Africa, Nils attended the University of Cape Town where he graduated with a M.Sc. focusing on backfilling. From there he went to work on mine sites for several companies, including Anglo American Gold and Uranium, specialising in underground support, backfill and tailings systems design and operation. 

Nils set up his own consulting business in 2000 designing backfill systems and tailings based underground support products and continued to provide specialist advice both at home in South Africa and globally.

During this period, driven by the mining industry to reduce costs, as well as the need to transport support products underground through vertical shaft infrastructures, Nils became involved in the development of products to replace timber packs, shotcrete and concrete underground manufactured from metallurgical tailings primarily for AngloGold Ashanti and Goldfields. 

Moving to Australia in 2008, and while a Principal Consultant at Golder Associates, Nils developed the 200 MPa “drill and fill” tailings-based product together with the manufacturing and delivery systems for it to be delivered 3,500 m underground. 

After developing a number of backfill systems, high solids concentration tailings pipelines and fly ash disposal systems with Golder Associates, Nils and his team moved to Weir Minerals and opened the Weir Technical Centre. With a client base that includes Newcrest, Rio Tinto, Sandfire Resources, Anglo American, FMG, BHP and AngloGold Ashanti, the WTC specialises in developing process, tailings, and pipelines solutions to meet the mining and minerals industry needs.  Nils has developed a full range of services (laboratory, instrumentation, settling testing, pumping models) to assist in the effective design of Australia’s largest slurry pipelines in recent years.   

This business continues to grow and expand to global customers under Nils’s management both as a service to Weir customers and research centre. 

The focus of research work by Nils and the team, has been the development of an innovative tailings dewatering process termed TerraFlowingTM. This process aims at improving tailings storage and safety, as well developing “Tailings as a Resource” and a practical pathway to a circular economy in mining. 

Nils lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife, Tracy, and son Sven, as well as a varied collection of pets with feathers fins and fur.      

Nils Steward FAusIMM