Tag Archives: mine water

Almar to provide water treatment services to Mantos Copper in northern Chile

Almar Water Solutions has been awarded a new operation and maintenance contract from Mantos Copper and its Mantos Blancos copper operation in northern Chile.

As part of the agreement, Almar Water Solutions, part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, through Osmoflo SpA, will operate the water treatment plant for Mantos Blancos.

This new three-year contract will include 24/7 service provided by experienced professionals who will transfer to the client’s facilities in the Antofagasta region, thus promoting local job creation, Almar said. It will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of a reverse-osmosis process-water plant, which will produce quality water to be used to carry out the mining activity at Mantos Blancos, according to the company.

The Mantos Blancos project is a mining complex located in Region II, 45 km northeast of the city of Antofagasta, at an elevation of 800 m above sea level. It comprises an open-pit mine, crushing plants and installations for processing oxidised and sulphide ores.

Gonzalo Gómez-Rodulfo, Services Manager at Almar Water Solutions, after the signing of the contract, said: “This new project strengthens the services area of Almar Water Solutions and will help Mantos Blancos to guarantee the operational excellence of its water infrastructure, enabling it to optimise costs and increase its annual copper production.”

The company added: “After the acquisition of Osmoflo SpA in 2019, Almar Water Solutions has become a new ally in the operation and maintenance of water treatment plants, offering optimum and efficient performance of the assets, using state-of-the-art management systems and computerised models.

“With this new project, Almar Water Solutions now has a portfolio with multiple operation and maintenance projects, especially in the Latin American region, which presents special conditions in terms of its geography and the distribution of water resources.”

Weir Minerals on optimising mine dewatering

As public scrutiny over the mining sector’s use of water continues to grow amid global shortages, Weir Minerals has issued its own guide on how to optimise the dewatering component of a mine site.

“Water is critical for every mine site, it’s used for minerals processing to dust suppression and slurry transport, and without it the entire operation would stop,” Weir said. “Every mine site faces a different challenge with water; it’s either scarce, or in excess and causing an issue.”

A comprehensive, reliable and flexible dewatering plan is essential to ensuring there is a steady supply of process water throughout the site, according to Weir. Conversely, the removal of excess water from working areas to allow excavation to continue while safeguarding the operators and maintaining productivity also requires a dewatering plan.

Ian Ross, Global Product Manager for Dewatering at Weir Minerals, said: “There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to dewatering. It can be an expensive and complex challenge, which is why we deliver bespoke strategies that are cost effective and manageable.

“At Weir Minerals our strength lies in our engineering and project management capabilities. We have the knowledge, expertise and range of equipment to optimise the entire dewatering component of a site.”

Major considerations for any dewatering project

Weather and environment

Each site’s dewatering requirements vary and present unique challenges, with environmental and geological considerations, as well as local climatic variations.

Differences in weather conditions and environmental changes can have a significant effect on an operation. The challenges operators face with water will change from region to region.

“From the outback of Australia where water is scarce, the recovery of water is desperately required compared to the tropical climates of Brazil, where open pits rapidly fill with water, or sub-zero (-50°C) arctic operations in northern Canada that operate year-round – they all require effective water management systems,” Weir said. “Every site, in every country, experiences varying issues with water management and requires a strong partner to support them, whatever the issue.”

Ross said: “We have extensive experience helping either open-pit or underground mine sites with their water management challenges. From designing and implementing a unified, fully-automated dewatering system in Czech Republic to delivering a dewatering system to withstand high wind speeds and tropical storms in Africa, we rarely meet a challenge we cannot overcome.”

There are also a number of factors affecting the dewatering system, from the permeability and porosity of the ground, the amount of surface water, and geological features such as seasonal rainfall.

All of these must all be assessed and factored into a detailed dewatering system before work can begin, Weir said. The dewatering system put in place must be able to cope with this to provide a safe solution and minimise production delays.

What’s in the water?

The composition of water being moved has a notable impact on the equipment and materials used, according to Weir. “The pH range, temperature, corrosive and abrasive content all play a critical role in selecting the equipment to transport water effectively. The presence of solids in the water, the specific gravity, size distribution and content percentage will determine the type of pumps required.”

Equally, the pipework and valves are also subject to corrosion and abrasion from the products handled and must be designed accordingly, the company said.

“For every dewatering project, it’s important the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) understands the environment before developing the strategy, to deliver the optimal solution,” Weir said.

“The pitfalls of over- or under-sized equipment include excessive energy use, high cost investment and maintenance and also risk to equipment and personnel, as well as lost production in the case of insufficient capacity.”

Cameron Murphy, Regional Director of Dewatering for Weir Minerals, said the company has a range of flexible solutions that allow it to use several types of pumping equipment, from self-primed diesel driven, submersibles, vertical turbine and multi-stage to high-wall pump designs for sites that have limited access due to high-sided mine pits.

“Our development of sophisticated pontoon and barge designs allows our equipment to float out over water bodies for easier access. All designs are rigorously tested and include safety features to help prevent risk to operators. Each of our pontoons is designed with a fully-tested anchoring system and can be customised for extreme weather conditions,” he said.

Waste not, want not

With depleting ore grades around the world, there is an emphasis on turning waste into energy, and the dewatering process is no different. Weir Minerals produces equipment which not only dewaters mine sites, but also enables the operator to recycle and re-use back through the plant, it said.

Weir said: “Reclaiming process water for reuse is an increasing demand from operators as it can help overcome the issue of water scarcity, and ensure the operation is gaining maximum use of its resources. Weir Minerals has successfully partnered with a number of customers around the world to make this happen.”

There are multiple ways in which Weir can help its customers reclaim water from their tailings and re-use it throughout the mine site, according to Ross. “From pump house systems to innovative and customised barge solutions, we find a solution that is right for the customer. These options can be complex, and we work with the customer to educate them on how the systems work and showcase the benefits, it’s a collaborative approach,” he said.

More than just equipment

“Operators usually rely on multiple OEMs for dewatering projects; a labour intensive task dealing with different providers and ensuring a solution comes together in a streamlined process,” Weir said.

“Weir Minerals can remove this headache by project managing the entire dewatering solution, utilising products from our extensive dewatering range. This involves a thorough assessment of the requirements of the site, including the mine plan, operating depths, and existing infrastructure, as well as required water in-flow.”

Ross concluded: “We provide a resilient process against the backdrop of increasingly difficult conditions in which many of our customers operate. What we deliver is an optimal dewatering plan, backed up by recommendation for regular equipment maintenance to keep unscheduled stoppages to a minimum.”

De.mem buoyed by water management contract at Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine

Water and wastewater treatment company De.mem says it has secured a 12-month A$780,000 ($564,868) operations and maintenance contract to manage potable water and sewage treatment plants at Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine in Queensland, Australia.

De.mem has operated the water treatment plant at Rio’s $1.9 billion operation since 2016 on a revolving monthly basis, with this contract, which began in January, providing it with business for at least a year.

De.mem CEO, Andreas Kroell, said: “This new purchase order is another great success for De.mem as it underlines our well established customer base in the mining and resources sector and our strong, recurring operations and maintenance business.”

In December, De.mem unveiled A$350,000 in new orders from municipal and resource sector customers, including one from South32’s Cannington silver-lead operation in Queensland.

Rio’s investment in Amrun is aimed at replacing production from the depleting East Weipa mine and increasing annual bauxite exports by around 10 Mt. Amrun, which shipped its first bauxite late last year, is expected to reach a full production rate of 22.8 Mt/y during 2019.

De.mem to clean up at South32’s Cannington silver-lead mine

Water and waste water treatment company De.mem has unveiled A$350,000 ($252,364) in new orders from municipal and resource sector customers, including one from South32’s Cannington silver-lead operation in Queensland, Australia.

The sale to South32 is for a membrane-based water treatment system supplied by the company’s wholly-owned Akwa-Worx subsidiary.

Akwa-Worx designs, builds and delivers a wide range of water and waste water treatment systems that make use of modern membrane technologies. Depending on the contaminants to be removed, and the product water quality desired, these systems may use ultrafiltration, nanofiltration or reverse osmosis membranes, plus there is also a membrane bioreactor option.

Cannington has been in production for 20 years and now produces 7% of the world’s lead and 6% of the world’s silver, according to the company.

Babylon pumped after winning new BHP contract

Babylon Pump & Power has secured a new supply of power generation and dewatering contract with BHP.

Under the contract, Babylon will supply and install power generation and dewatering pumping equipment for the major miner for a minimum term of six months. The works are expected to begin immediately, with commissioning in November. The agreement is estimated to generate some A$670,000 ($472,471) in revenue in its 2019 financial year.

While the contract only has an initial six-month term, the Babylon board said it was “optimistic” an agreement could continue at the end of this period on a rolling basis.

Back in July, Babylon secured a contract through ADENCO Water Management & Civil Engineering to supply, install and maintain power generation equipment for the Surplus Water Pipeline project at BHP’s Mining Area C operation.