Abstract The influences of solids concentration, molecular weight of dispersant, particle size and distribution, and temperature on the rheological behaviour of limestone slurries have been investigated. The results reveal that when the solids concentration of a limestone slurry (< 100 μm) is increased from 60 wt.% (35.71 vol.%) to 78.5 wt.% (57.49 vol.%), the rheological behaviour of the slurry is transformed from a weakly dilatant characteristic to a pseudoplastic one with a yield stress, which is in combination with a thixotropic property at a higher solids concentration (i.e., ≥ 75 wt.% or 52.63 vol.%). At a certain shear rate, the apparent viscosity and the relative viscosity of the slurry increase exponentially with solids concentration. The extrapolated Bingham yield stress increases rather sharply in a power-law form with increasing solids concentration when the solids concentration of the slurry is larger than 70 wt.% (i.e., 46.36 vol.%). An attainable maximum packing solids fraction ( ϕ m) is predicted as ϕ m = 64.6 vol.% at the certain limestone–water suspension system. A polymeric dispersant named Dispersant S40 with a molecular weight of 5500 appears most effective for the reduction of the apparent viscosity of limestone slurry due to its good electrosteric stabilization and effective avoidance of depletion flocculation. The smaller the particle size and the narrower the size distribution, the more evident the pseudoplastic property of limestone slurry is with a larger yield stress and a larger apparent viscosity at a given shear rate in the range of 12 to 1200 s − 1 . Also, a statistic model describes a relationship between the particle size and distribution and the apparent viscosity of the slurries at a given solids concentration (i.e., 70 wt.% or 46.36 vol.%). However, a sufficient additive dosage of Dispersant S40 (i.e., ≥ 0.1 wt.%) significantly decreases or even eliminates the rheological differences of limestone slurries (apparent viscosities and extrapolated yield stresses) resulting from the difference in particle size and distribution. Besides, the apparent viscosity of limestone slurries decreases with increasing temperature in the range of 13 to 55 °C, regardless of the absence or the presence of Dispersant S40.