Siltbuster Process Solutions (SPS) is taking part in trials to show the treatability of the mine water from the closed tin mine at South Crofty in Cornwall. Once completed, the results will be used to show the viability of dewatering and the reopening of the mine. SPS has been asked to treat the mine water (which includes dissolved contaminates and metals in solution, principally iron) by reducing the metal content to allow safe discharge of the water to the nearby Red River. If successful, the trial will be an important next step in the reopening of the mine, for Strongbow Exploration Inc., which acquired it in July 2016.
SPS is a recognised world authority in treating mine water. It has successfully completed many mine water treatment plants, designs and feasibility studies both the UK and worldwide in Greece, the Slovak Republic, France, Canada and Australia. These include Wheal Jane, Cornwall, UK, one of the largest active mine water treatment projects in the world, which over the last 14 years has involved treating over 100 million cubic metres of water. SPS also designed the Dawdon mine water treatment plant for the UK Coal Authority, which won the 2010 Eddie Award for the best water treatment plant in the UK. Earlier this year it finished a turnkey contract to design, construct and commission a water treatment system for Wolf Minerals’ new tungsten mine at the Drakelands Mine, near Plymouth in Devon, the 4th largest tungsten deposit in the world.
Commenting on South Crofty, Chris Bullen, Technical Manager for Siltbuster Process Solutions said: “It is great to have been chosen to work on such an important and high profile project. We have a long history not only of working with mines but also of this region, we understand the local geology and have consulted heavily with the Strongbow team on the best way to dewater the mine. This initial trial phase is very important; it will not only show that the required environmental standards can be met, but will also demonstrate the viability of the whole mine.”
At South Crofty the trial will see SPS’s High Density Sludge process treat 18 cubic metres per hour of mine water over the next two or three months. This will not only provide performance data to support Strongbow’s discharge consent permit application but will also be used in the design of the full-scale plant; if the trial is successful the company would like to scale things up, to treat and discharge up to 25,000 cubic metres of mine water per day. This will enable the mine to be dewatered over an 18-24 month period ahead of reopening.
The South Crofty tin project area covers 1,490 hectares, and includes 26 former producing mines. Production records for the site date back to 1592 with full scale mining activities commencing in the middle of the 17th Century. The mine closed because of the tin price, which collapsed in 1985.