Tag Archives: reverse osmosis

Water treatment plant starts up at Anglo American’s Aquila met coal project

Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business says it is now operating the first of two state-of-the art reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plants at its Aquila project in the Bowen Basin, Queensland.

The aim of the RO plants is to reduce the use of fresh water in its mining operations.

Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, Tyler Mitchelson, said the A$5 million ($3.9 million) water treatment system was currently treating two megalitres of mine affected water (MAW) a day and supporting construction of the Aquila Mine, near Middlemount in central Queensland.

“A key target in Anglo American’s global Sustainable Mining Plan is to reduce our reliance on fresh water by 50% by 2030 across our mine sites, and I’m pleased to say Aquila is currently sourcing recycled water during construction of the mine,” Mitchelson said.

“A planned second RO plant will to be used to recycle a further 2.4 megalitres of MAW – once Aquila becomes operational in early 2022, more than doubling capacity and helping to reduce the reliance on water from local sources during times of drought.

“Aquila will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced underground mines and will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining. The project is currently supporting 500 jobs.”

Aquila, owned 70% by Anglo and 30% by Mitsui & Co Ltd, will extend the life of Anglo’s existing Capcoal underground operations by six years and continue to use the associated infrastructure at the Capcoal complex as its nearby Grasstree Mine approaches end of life, Anglo says. The mine will also continue to adopt Anglo American’s FutureSmart Mining™ program, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining’s major operational and sustainability challenges, the company said. One of the initiatives the company is working on as part of this is remote operation of the longwall; a process the company has trialled at some of its other Bowen Basin coal mines.

Aquila’s Project Director, Tony Willmott, said the A$240 million Aquila Mine was committed to awarding contracts locally.

“Our Aquila project is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners. More than 90% of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers,” Willmott said. “Aquila’s integrated network of pipes and pumps is securing the distribution of high-quality water which is necessary in metallurgical coal mining for equipment cooling and coal cutting operations.”

Anglo American commits to Aquila coal development with >A$240 million of contracts

Anglo American has invested more than A$240 million ($175 million) with suppliers for its 70%-owned Aquila metallurgical coal project in Central Queensland, Australia, which, the company says, will be one the world’s most technologically advanced underground mines.

Aquila will extend the life of Anglo American’s existing Capcoal underground operations near Middlemount by six years and continue to use the associated infrastructure at the Capcoal complex as its nearby Grasstree Mine approaches end of life, Anglo says.

Anglo American has awarded nearly A$200 million to six longwall equipment suppliers to deliver a “walk-on, walk-off system” using two complete longwalls, a A$20 million overland conveyor system and more than A$20 million in civil works, it said.

The project, which is scheduled for first longwall production of premium quality hard coking coal in early 2022, includes a A$5 million reverse osmosis water treatment system to increase the use of recycled water and reduce the reliance on fresh water at the mine – a key target in Anglo American’s Sustainable Mining Plan.

Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, Tyler Mitchelson, said: “Our Aquila project is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners. More than 90% of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers, and we currently have around 500 people working on the project in engineering, surface construction and underground development.

“Aquila will be a breakthrough project, designed to set a new standard of safety and performance by leveraging technology and focusing on operational improvements. The mine will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, with a remote operating centre on the surface of the mine, proximity detection systems underground to alert machine operators to pedestrians, and the continued digitisation of our operations, using new technologies such as our Australian-first intrinsically safe underground electronic tablets.”

In addition to the aforementioned construction contacts, Anglo American awarded a A$95 million mining development contract to Mackay-based mining company, Mastermyne in 2019.

Multotec, Clean TeQ bring mine effluent treatment solution to Africa

Multotec Process Equipment and Clean TeQ Water have combined to offer the Africa market a game changing reverse osmosis (RO) technology solution able to truly unlock the significant potential of resin chemistry for effective mine effluent treatment, Vincent Ridgard, Process Engineer at Multotec Process Equipment, says.

Treating effluent on mines often makes use of RO technology, Multotec says, but low recoveries can raise costs substantially. A continuous counter current ion exchange can provide a fit-for-purpose solution, according to Ridgard, who notes that RO was initially designed to remove monovalent salt molecules from sea water.

“However, wastewater on mines also includes divalent and trivalent elements, which cause scaling of membranes in RO systems,” he says. “This means that when a standalone RO plant is utilised to treat these waters, it is operated at lower recoveries to enhance the lifespan of the membranes.”

This results in large volumes of highly concentrated brine streams, he says, which are either recirculated within the system or require very expensive effluent treatment systems. To address these challenges, Multotec offers niche technologies suited to treat divalent and trivalent elements in water on mines.

“Through our close partnership with Clean TeQ Water, in Australia, we offer mines across Africa a continuous counter current ion exchange technology,” Ridgard says. “This uses resin, which is more selective to extracting larger molecules.”

As a result, these systems achieve high recoveries of over 90%, so process water can be re-used within the mine’s process circuits or discharged safely to the environment. The resin-based chemistry removes target species, selectively extracting contaminants through exchanging ionic functional groups engineered on the resin beads.

Ridgard notes that, while these scientific principles are well accepted, there has previously not been a suitable technology to truly unlock the significant potential of resin chemistry. Clean TeQ’s ‘moving bed’ solution – supplied to the Africa market by Multotec – is, therefore, a game changer.

In contrast to the conventional fixed-bed systems, the use of resin transfer mechanisms allows the continuous ionic filtration to handle up to 150 parts per million of solids, whereas conventional systems need a 100% clean liquor. Total suspended solids and total dissolved solids can, therefore, be simultaneously removed.

It also optimises the inventory of resin, a significant cost contributor to the overall plant, and provides high water recoveries. Other benefits include its low power consumption and ability to recover valuable trace metals as a by-product.