Tag Archives: water management

De.mem to put the BOOT in at Metro Mining’s Bauxite Hills mine

Water and wastewater treatment company, De.mem, says it has received new orders worth a minimum A$470,000 ($317,202) of revenue from Metro Mining for work at its Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland, Australia.

The orders include the delivery of wastewater treatment equipment, plus a contract award to supply equipment in combination with the provision of operations & maintenance services under a build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) agreement.

Bauxite Hills, which produced 3.5 Mt (wet) of bauxite in 2019, is currently carrying out detailed engineering and design work related to a stage two expansion at the mine, which could see annual operating capacity reach 6 Mt (wet) by 2021.

De.mem CEO, Andreas Kroell, said: “We are pleased to provide our customers with a complete water treatment solutions offering, which includes the flexibility of either purchasing or leasing equipment from De.mem. Our build, own, operate/BOOT solutions are a key part of our services business, whereby we are engaged by leading players from mining and other industries under long-term agreements for the provision of water treatment equipment and ongoing operations and maintenance services.”

This is not the only Queensland bauxite mine De.mem is currently working on. Back in February 2019, the company secured a 12-month A$780,000 operations and maintenance contract to manage potable water and sewage treatment plants at Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine in the state.

Outotec looks to strike the right water balance with Pretium platform

Outotec has launched a new real-time water monitoring tool to enable miners to simulate and evaluate proposed water-treatment investments and process changes, and keep tabs on water use across their operations.

As the company says, water is a scarce and valuable resource, and mining operations are under increasing pressure to optimise their water usage in order to improve environmental and economic performance.

Outotec Pretium Water Advisor enables real-time monitoring of the water balance across an entire site, allowing operators to create short-term forecasts for water volume and quality, it said.

The platform predicts changes in water balance and quality based on changing production and environmental conditions. This enables simulation and evaluation of proposed water-treatment investments and process changes.

“The solution combines intelligent water measurement stations and instrumentation with Outotec’s predictive water balance computing to eliminate the need to rely on time-consuming manual water-balance and key performance indicator (KPI) calculations,” Outotec said.

Plant managers and engineers can view water KPIs as both graphical views and historical trends via a web-based interface and also access scenario management tools for performing simulations and evaluating the impacts of new water treatment investments, process changes, or the impact of expansion plans on the site’s water resources, the company said.

“Water Advisor monitoring stations provide accurate and reliable real-time data on both environmental and process waters, and are designed to perform reliably in harsh environments even under constant exposure to rain, humidity, dust, frost, and sun,” the company said. “Stations can be easily connected to the Outotec technical platform for data collection, processing, visualisation, and device management.”

Outotec Pretium Water Advisor has been commercialised with the help of funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a body of the European Union, under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

‘World-first’ public database of mine tailings dams launched

Environmental organisation GRID-Arendal, with support from the UN Environment Program (UNEP), says it has launched the world’s first publicly accessible global database of mine tailings storage facilities.

The database, the Global Tailings Portal, was built by Norway-based GRID-Arendal as part of the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, led by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish National Pension Funds’ Council on Ethics, with support from the UNEP. The initiative is backed by funds with more than US$13 trillion under management, according to GRID-Arendal.

Professor Elaine Baker from the School of Geosciences is Director of the GRID-Arendal office at the University of Sydney. She said: “This portal could save lives. Tailing dams are getting bigger and bigger. Mining companies have found most of the highest-grade ores and are now mining lower-grade ones, which create more waste. With this information, the entire industry can work towards reducing dam failures in the future.”

The release of the Global Tailings Portal coincides with the one-year anniversary of the tailings dam collapse in Brumadinho, Brazil (pictured above – CREDIT:IDF/Flickr), which reportedly killed 270 people. After that event, a group of institutional investors led by the Church of England Pensions Board asked 726 of the world’s largest mining companies to disclose details about their tailings dams. Many of the companies complied, and the information they released has been incorporated into the database, GRID-Arendal said.

The database will allow users to view detailed information on more than 1,900 tailings dams, categorised by location, company, dam type, height, volume and risk, among other factors.

Kristina Thygesen, GRID-Arendal’s Program Leader for Geological Resources and a member of the team that worked on the portal, said: “Most of this information has never before been publicly available.”

When GRID-Arendal began in-depth research on mine tailings dams in 2016, very little data was accessible. In a 2017 report on tailings dams, co-published by GRID and the UN Environment Program, one of the key recommendations was to establish an accessible public-interest database of tailings storage facilities.

“This database brings a new level of transparency to the mining industry, which will benefit regulators, institutional investors, scientific researchers, local communities, the media and the industry itself,” Thygesen said.

Xylem continues sustainable water technologies investment with new R&D hub

Xylem, a leading global water technology company, has launched a new multi-disciplinary centre for water, wastewater and energy technologies at the company’s regional headquarters in Singapore.

The expanded headquarters brings the company’s regional R&D capability into a new Xylem Technology Hub Singapore (XTHS), alongside its regional leadership and personnel, the company said.

It explained: “The XTHS represents Xylem’s continued investment in sustainable water technologies, and research at the new centre will focus on developing breakthrough technologies in water distribution and water and wastewater treatment.”

Xylem is well known in the mining industry for its own and other brand series of mine dewatering and slurry pumps and accessories.

One of the first projects Xylem is pursuing at the centre is a collaboration with A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC). Xylem will combine its leading expertise in water technologies with IHPC’s expertise in computer modelling and simulations. Together, they will evaluate fluid-structure interaction in pipe flow to develop a new computational fluid dynamics model tailored for Xylem’s applications such as SmartBall and PipeDiver, it said. The model will then be applied to the design and testing of other advanced products and solutions to be deployed in treatment plants and water distribution networks.

Patrick Decker, President and CEO of Xylem, said: “This new multi-disciplinary centre will create ample opportunities to innovate and collaborate with our customers, as we work with them to tackle the region’s greatest water challenges, including water scarcity, affordability and infrastructure resilience.

“Bringing research and development capability into our regional headquarters in Singapore puts all of Xylem’s market-leading technology capability in one location, focused on the region’s water technology and infrastructure solutions.”

In addition to the research and development hub, Xylem’s new office will feature a customer experience centre and training centre, bringing together all of Xylem’s sales, customer support and technical capabilities for Southeast Asia, it said.

Work at the centre will also be supported by Xylem’s ongoing partnership with PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, to address challenges brought about by climate change and increasing water demand. Xylem continues to work with PUB on the development and implementation of technologies in common areas of interest, such as high-precision leak detection and condition assessment technologies, and using data analytics to pinpoint water loss.

Global Tailings Review opens public consultation period

The ICMM-backed Global Tailings Review has launched a public consultation on its draft Global Tailings Standard in order to “develop a robust, fit-for-purpose international standard for the safer management of tailings”.

The public consultation, which ends on December 31, will take place in two parts.

First: online via a survey which has been translated into seven languages. Second: in-country consultations across a range of mining jurisdictions in the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Global Tailings Review was co-convened by the United Nations Environment Programme, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and Principles for Responsible Investment following the tailings dam collapse at Brumadinho, Brazil on January 25, 2019, to establish an international standard on tailings facilities management. The final Global Tailings Standard will need to be endorsed by all three parties.

The draft standard addresses six key topics:

  • Knowledge base – requires mine operators to develop knowledge about the social, economic and environmental context of a proposed or existing tailings facility;
  • Affected communities – focuses on the people living and working nearby. It requires human rights due diligence and meaningful engagement of project-affected people;
  • Design, construction, operation and monitoring of tailings facilities – aims to review design, construction, operation and monitoring of tailings facilities;
  • Management and governance – focuses on ongoing management and governance of tailings facilities. It defines a number of key roles, essential systems and critical processes;
  • Emergency response and long-term recovery – covers emergency preparedness and response in the event of a disaster, the re-establishment of ecosystems, and the long-term recovery of affected communities; and
  • Public disclosure and access to information – requires public access to information about tailings facilities in order for all stakeholders to be informed of the risks and impacts, management and mitigation plans, and performance monitoring.

“The review is committed to transparency and once the final standard is published, the Global Tailings Review will provide a consultation report that reflects feedback, key themes, topics and sentiments from different stakeholder groups, as well as how that feedback was processed and addressed in the final version of the standard,” the ICMM said.

It is expected that the final standard and accompanying recommendations report, which will outline broader proposals to support the uptake and implementation of the standard, will be published in 2020.

Outotec consolidates filtration expertise with new Larox PF-DS filter press

Outotec says its new Larox® PF-DS tower press filter combines two proven technologies in one unit to meet the challenging process requirements of the chemical process industry.

With filtration applications getting more demanding due to challenging materials, increased cake washing needs, strong acid processes, and fine grinding, there is an increasing need for technologies that can handle these challenges in a reliable and more automated manner, Outotec says.

The new Larox PF-DS is a tower press filter where the plate pack is composed of polypropylene membrane filter plates stacked on top of each other. The cake forms between the closed filter plates on the top and bottom side of the filtration chamber, hence it being called a double-side filter.

The mechanical operation and frame of the Larox PF-DS are shared with the Outotec Larox PF pressure filter while the unique filtration process is powered by the double-side plate pack from the Outotec Larox DS filter (earlier known as Hoesch® DS).

The individual filter chamber has a double-side filtration area of 4.7 m2 and an operating pressure of up to 16 bar. The plates are stacked vertically to give a total filtration area of 38–94 m2 depending on the unit size, according to Outotec.

One endless filter cloth runs through the whole filter and one side of the filter cloth is used for filtration. A wide range of different cloth types is available to meet the application needs, the company said. This filter cloth ensures efficient discharge of all cake from each individual chamber at every cycle, eliminating the need for manual intervention.

With the PF-DS now sharing the mechanical design with the PF family, local Outotec service teams are available for technical support and maintenance needs. Likewise, the availability and compatibility of the spare parts is significantly improved compared with earlier technology.

Outotec said: “PF-DS Filters are fully automatic, operating either with a standalone panel or through a distributed control system. Automation extends beyond basic filter sequencing to full process control, ensuring consistent results under varying process conditions.”

The filtration process is a batch operation which includes filtration, membrane pressing and air drying stages, with several options for cake washing added to the process depending on customer needs.

When the process cycle is ended, filter cakes will be discharged from the one side of the filter. Due to the cloth being on both sides of the chamber together with the cloth scrapers, cake discharge is fully automatic without an operator present.

After each cycle, the moving filter cloth passes through water sprays to remove any embedded solids. This maintains cloth permeability, consistent filter performance and extends cloth life, according to Outotec.

The single cloth system makes cloth change simple and quick, typically taking as little as 30 minutes. Furthermore, cloth inspection can be carried out without the need for equipment shutdown.

Integrated Pump Rental up for southern Africa pit dewatering challenge

As open-pit mines continue to get deeper with the maturing of operations, pit dewatering is becoming more vital, with ground water not only posing an operational challenge but also a potential safety hazard if not attended to appropriately.

In this scenario, it is not a case of one pump fits all dewatering application requirements and it is advisable to deal with a reputable pump supplier to ensure the most appropriate solution is selected, according to Integrated Pump Rental.

Lee Vine, Managing Director of the company, said each application requires a site-specific solution.

“There are numerous options available in terms of the actual pump and ancillary equipment, as well as the choice between rental and outright purchase,” he says. “The differentiator that our team offers is the ability to assess a given application and provide a pit dewatering solution with the correctly sized pump.”

There are several factors that can have an impact on the pump selection, and this includes available power sources; the volume of water to be pumped; and the condition of the dirty water, including size and type of particles in the water.

“What adds complexity to pit dewatering applications is that, in many cases, the need to dewater a pit can be urgent and customers are forced into making an incorrect pump selection or tying themselves into a contract that does not work in the longer term,” Vine says.

While the decision to hire or purchase is an important commercial one, so is the actual selection of the pump itself, he said.

“If the pump is not sized correctly for the dewatering application at hand, it will not perform as required. This, in turn, leads to further operational challenges including production losses and sometimes even the need to change the pump resulting in further costs.”

One of the most important factors to consider is the available energy source. If there is no access to power, options such as diesel-driven or pumps fitted with hydraulic power packs must be explored.

When selecting the pump, it is also important to understand the specifics of the water ingress conditions and whether this is a long-term issue or simply a short-term challenge. This scenario will dictate the pump size, its rated output and what ancillary equipment is required.

As an example, Vine points to a recent dewatering application on a mine in Lesotho where a constant flow of water into the mine’s pit area demanded that water be urgently and reliably pumped out.

Over time the pit depth had increased, and the groundwater level had been exacerbated by the winter snowfall in the highlands of the country. As a result, the total dynamic head for the duties of the installed dewatering pump installation changes and the mine required an urgent solution.

Initially a Sykes XH150 diesel driven pump was deployed, pumping at 120 l/s at 150 m head. Subsequent to this, a second Sykes pump was dispatched to site to ensure the level of water remained at an acceptable level.

With the two Sykes pumps on site, the mine was assured of enough pumping capacity, should the groundwater level increase.

The call from this mine came in and, within 24 hours, the first Sykes pump was installed on site, according to Vine.

“This is very significant, when one considers that the mine is situation some 500 km from the company’s front door and across the border into a neighbouring country.”

Integrated Pump Rental not only rents out Sykes diesel driven pump sets, the company is also responsible for the sale of these dewatering pumps across southern Africa. The robust units are designed for reliable performance, under even the harshest operating conditions, according to the company.

FLSmidth reflects on KREBS slurry pump dominance in Africa

KREBS® slurry pumps have become leaders in mill discharge applications in Africa, with the latest Ultimate Mill Discharge (UMD) pump leading the way in these heavy-duty applications, according to FLSmidth.

Andre Hall, FLSmidth Regional Product Line Manager — Pumps, Cyclones and Valves, said: “West African gold mines and the copper operations of Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo are among the areas where these robust pumps dominate.

“Their popularity,” he says, “is based on their long wear life and high efficiency.”

Ghana is a particular success story for UMD pumps, according to Hall, with nearly all gold mines there using the equipment manufacturer’s pumps to discharge slurry from their mills, he added.

“The KREBS UMD is popular at these mines largely because it lowers the total cost of ownership due to the millMax™ proprietary design that eliminates inefficient recirculation and grinding of slurry within the pump,” FLSmidth said.

“Prior to the millMAX wear ring design, slurry pumps experienced two major problems: mechanical grinding of solids between the suction liner and impeller, and flow recirculating back to the impeller eye on the suction side. Both of these problems decrease pump life and increase power consumption.”

The wear ring stops recirculation by closing the suction-side gap, while still allowing for a large clearance between the impeller and the suction liner, according to FLSmidth. This eliminates the grinding of solids. Adjusting the wear ring while the pump is running, meanwhile, restores performance and provides longer wear life and higher continuous efficiency, in all, lowering the total cost of ownership.

Hall says: “The UMD’s casing symmetry also means less inventory for customers. Mines that have pumps rotating in both left-hand and right-hand orientations must stock different casings, liners and impellers, adding to the operational costs.”

The advantage of the UMD is that it uses the same casing, suction liner, wear ring and back liner, which reduces overall net working capital.

The KREBS gravelMAX™ pumps continue to do well in the Mpumalanga coal sector of South Africa, according to FLSmith, where 14 of these pumps recently replaced competitor units on a single site.

Commonly applied in a cyclone feed application within the dense medium separation (DMS) circuit, the pump’s wider passage allows pumping of larger solids.

“We are also active in iron ore in South Africa with pumps in the DMS circuit,” Hall says. “A Lesotho diamond mine also operates KREBS pumps, which have demonstrated a four-fold increase in wear life compared to a competitor’s previous units.”

In sump pumps, FLSmidth has the vMAX™ range, which features a recessed impeller design allowing the pumps to run dry.

The company explains:“When the sump has been emptied of slurry, the recessed impeller allows the slurry to return safely down the discharge pipe without contacting the impeller, ensuring that it does not vibrate when dry.”

Another recent innovation in the KREBS slurryMAX range of pumps is being introduced to the Africa market after an enthusiastic response in the US and Australia, FLSmidth said. With multiple liner and impeller material options, the slurryMAX split-case pump can handle the majority of applications for any plant across multiple industries.

Vesconite water flingers seal the deal for mining pump manufacturer

Vesconite Bearings has come to the rescue of a southern Africa pump manufacturer looking to improve the performance of horizontal centrifugal pumps operating in mines across the continent.

The company has now received its order for Vesconite low-swell hard-wearing water-flinger polymer bearings for four of its pump sizes.

Vesconite Bearings said the manufacturer found its horizontal centrifugal pumps, as a result of high pressure, had a problem of water escaping from the gland packing – the material that should form a watertight seal around the shaft.

This resulted in dirty water being sprayed on to the non-drive-end bearing assembly and, in turn, seizure, failure, and a high maintenance and down-time cost to replace the bearing assembly.

“The manufacturer designed a water flinger (deflector) solution that would attach to the release collar on the shaft,”  Vesconite Bearings Technical Sales Consultant, Phillip de Villiers, said.

“This would mean that excess water from the gland packing would be deflected with the rotation of the shaft.”

However, the initial solution employed a phenolic laminated material, which was found to absorb water and delaminate.

To eliminate these problems, the company called on de Villiers, who suggested Vesconite as an alternative material that would not swell or delaminate and had the added advantage of being suitable in dirty environments because of its excellent wear-resistant properties.

“Samples were produced and tested and, proving successful, the manufacturer ordered water flingers of various designs for its different pump sizes,” de Villiers said. “The whole process from sample production to first order took three months.”

The pump manufacturer intends to use Vesconite water flingers in all of its pumps, which are used in a variety of applications, according to Vesconite Bearings.

It is active in a multitude of African countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and the DRC, in which some of the first Vesconite water flingers will be installed in a dewatering pump in a mine, Vesconite Bearings says.

Kalium Lakes draws a liner under Beyondie sulphate of potash ponds

Jaylon Environmental Systems is to supply and install the evaporation pond liner at Kalium Lakes’ Beyondie sulphate of potash project (BSOPP), in Western Australia, as part of a contract agreed between the two parties.

The contract includes the supply, management of delivery and installation of 1 mm HDPE liner covering a total evaporation area of approximately 400 ha for the Stage 1 BSOPP 90,000 t/y sulphate of potash (SOP) facility.

The BSOPP project aims to commence production at 82,000 t/y of SOP in 2020, before ramping up to 164,000 t/y of SOP for domestic and international sale. An initial mine life of between 30-50 years is anticipated for a project designed to be a low cost, long life and high margin producer, Kalium Lakes said.

Earlier this month, Kalium Lakes secured gas supply and transport for Beyondie SOP project following deals with APA Group and Shell Energy Australia.

In 2017, Jaylon successfully completed the supply and installation of the liner for the BSOPP’s 10 ha pilot scale ponds, according to Kalium Lakes. “Jaylon has now submitted the most competitive and compliant offer for the full project works, resulting in this A$15 million ($10.3 million) major contract award,” the company said.

The scope under this contract has already commenced, with an initial order of A$1 million worth of liner placed in May 2019 as part of early works and first deliveries to site already completed. The balance of the contract scope will commence following a final investment decision (FID) by Kalium Lakes, due shortly.

Kalium Lakes Chief Development Officer, Rudolph van Niekerk, said: “The use of Jaylon during the pilot scale trials continued to validate Kalium Lakes’ de-risking strategy, where we work collaboratively to develop bespoke, low cost and fit for purpose solutions for the BSOPP.

“The use of an evaporation pond liner has been a much-debated topic. For Kalium Lakes, the cost of the supply and installation of the liner represents less than 7% of the project’s total capital cost but results in an increased SOP process recovery of more than 15%.

“Our lined pond design provides a pond system constructed on trafficable, off lake surfaces, allowing for harvesting by heavy machinery months, if not years, ahead of the alternatives.

“With lined ponds there is virtually no leakage of the high value concentrated brines, delivering excellent recovery rates, a smaller pond area, less brine pumping, low operating costs and an extended mine life. It simply is a ‘no brainer’,” he said.