Tag Archives: England

Siltbuster delivers modular water treatment system to Anglo’s Woodsmith mine

Siltbuster, the water treatment specialist, says it has designed and installed a surface water treatment solution for Anglo American at its Woodsmith polyhalite mine on the North Yorkshire coast of England.

The polyhalite deposit can only be accessed from within the North York Moors National Park, so extensive steps have been taken to limit the environmental impact of the mine, using innovative design solutions and engineering ingenuity, Siltbuster says.

The mine infrastructure has been designed to be sympathetic to its location: the number and size of the buildings has been reduced to a minimum, which, together with extensive landscaping and planting, will ensure the site is screened and blends in with the surrounding area. At the same time, mined ore will only be transported underground, in recognition of the sensitivity of the area, in a 37 km tunnel to the materials handling facility on Teesside, eliminating the need for surface transportation.

“This careful stewardship and protection of the surrounding environment has also extended to water management on site,” Siltbuster said. “During construction, the collected surface rainwater via the on-site collection drainage system can contain an elevated level of suspended solid particles which require removal prior to discharge back into the natural water courses to ensure there is no environment impact. The collected surface water passes through a series of lagoons to remove the gross solids, but the water can still contain elevated level of suspended clay particles that do not settle under natural gravity.”

Anglo American has, therefore, invested in a treatment system, with a high degree of system automation, located within a structure that blends in with the surrounding scenery, in line with the overall project design, the company says.

With the new modular treatment system in place, including 2no. HB200R Lamella Clarifiers with Mix Tanks, over 5.7 million litres of water can be treated each day. Continuous online monitoring of flow, pH and suspended solids of the treated surface water ensure discharge criteria are being met consistently before releasing back into the natural water course, Siltbuster explained. If any of the monitoring parameters are above the trigger level, the system will shut down automatically with an instant text alert submitted to the site operators.

Rob Staniland, Manager for Environment and Permitting at the Woodsmith Project, said: “It is essential that we have robust, reliable systems and partners to help us meet our stringent planning conditions and environmental safety targets. Siltbuster have proven to be just that, providing us with a great solution to helps us deliver on the minimal impact ethos of the whole project.”

Louis Pang, Project Manager, at Siltbuster, added: “The new treatment plant has not only provided an effective and easy-to-operate system, with the system design being modular and built off-site, the on-site construction and installation time was kept to a minimum, thereby minimising the environmental impact, an important environmental criteria set by Anglo American.”

WCM’s Woodhouse Colliery met coal project heads for site work

West Cumbria Mining says the UK Government has agreed with Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve the planning application for its Woodhouse Colliery project in the northeast of England and has lifted its “holding direction”.

The decision means the company can make plans to commence site works later this year at the metallurgical coal project.

Cumbria County Council (CCC) Development Control and Regulation Committee, in October, resolved again to grant planning approval to West Cumbria Mining (WCM) to develop the project. This was the second such time the council had approved the project, following a formal approval back in March 2019.

Even with this approval in tow, the UK government could have stepped in to further scrutinise CCC’s sign off – a move they decided not to employ.

CEO Mark Kirkbride said on hearing the news: “I am delighted that the holding direction has been lifted following what has been an extremely rigorous planning process. My team and I are now looking forward to concluding planning signoff and then being able to commence preparatory steps to begin site work later this year.”

When the CCC approval was granted, WCM said it anticipated starting site work early in 2021 (before spring), with initial coal production commencing around 18 months from the start of construction.

Once the Woodhouse Colliery moves into the operational phase, the company plans to extract and process around 2.7 Mt/y of metallurgical coal from the operation, focused on supplying UK and international steelmaking plants.

Run-out and pocket extraction will be the chosen mining method at Woodhouse as this is a proven, highly versatile coal mining method that takes advantage of advancements in mining technology to mitigate risks associated with the Cumbrian Coal fields, the company says.

The technique includes the use of bolter miners to develop the gate roads for the panel, with a bolter miner then driving a run-out roadway. A continuous miner subsequently cuts chevron cut pockets into the pillars, while the roof is supported. Shuttle cars continuously move coal from the respective continuous miners to the feeder breaker and, once coal has passed through the feeder breaker, it falls onto the underground conveyor belt to be taken to surface.

Once processed, the coal at Woodhouse will be transported to the railway loading facility (RLF) in the Pow Beck Valley, near Mirehouse, via an underground conveyor buried in a concrete box culvert, which will mitigate any visual, noise or dust issues between the mine site and RLF, in recognition of the sensitivity of the area, WCM says.