Tag Archives: water management

Babylon adds to water management offering with RHB Engineering buy

Babylon Pump and Power’s water management activities are set to expand with the planned acquisition of RHB Engineering Pty Ltd (RHB) for A$3 million ($2.04 million).

The transaction, which is expected to complete on January 31, will see Boddington, Western Australia-based RHB become a part of Babylon’s expanding groundwater and water ingress teams in Australia. The company provides rental pumps and specialist mechanical services in the water management field, with these pumps and services critical to mining operations in the southwest and other areas of Western Australia, Babylon said.

The RHB assets have been independently valued at over A$2.6 million, according to Babylon, having high utilisation rates and providing immediate earnings contribution to the company through existing rental contracts with clients.

Babylon Managing Director, Michael Shelby, said: “Management of groundwater and water ingress issues remain a ‘mission critical’ requirement for the mining and resource sector and the acquisition of RHB is a further strategic step into this attractive sector. This is an exciting and well-priced acquisition for Babylon which will expand our rental fleet, client base and water management activities. The acquisition complements our current operations with minimal increase in overheads while continuing to advance our rental and water management strategy.”

In August, Babylon executed a business asset acquisition agreement to acquire the operational assets of Resource Water Group, which provides bore field test pumping equipment and related data collection services as well as a range of water management disciplines to the mining industry.

This followed a June announcement from Babylon saying that it planned on expanding its mine water management activities.

METS Ignited and the Queensland Government launch enviroMETS

Queensland mining companies can now tap into the collaborative innovation of experienced organisations to deliver maximum value and enhanced future uses of post-mining land with the launch of industry-led, not-for-profit enviroMETS.

Aimed at devising innovative and sustainable repurposing, recommercialising and remediation solutions to create the greatest value for future custodians, enviroMETS is a joint METS Ignited and Queensland Government partnership that, the partners say, will provide a conduit of innovative industry-led solutions for government and mining companies.

This cluster initiative will deploy skills, research and experience in:

  • Mine lifecycle planning;
  • Geochemical and mine affected water management;
  • Mine waste reprocessing;
  • Geotechnical and tailings storage facilities;
  • Mine closure management; and
  • Governance/policy/regulatory framework.

enviroMETS will enable commercial collaborations to research and deploy new technologies such as reprocessing mine waste for essential mineral extraction or repurposing the landform for another commercial use, the partners say.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said enviroMETS builds upon the early clustering work of METS Ignited, in partnership with the Queensland Government.

“In reviewing our progress, it was clear multiple groups would benefit from the support of a dedicated organisation engaged in project coordination and lead collaboration management,” Beer said.

“SME vendors, research and academia, government and state-owned entities, as well as mining, METS organisations and investors, could all leverage a trusted independent broker representing enviroMETS groups.”

enviroMETS Executive Director, Allan Morton, explained that it was important to understand enviroMETS is a completely independent, industry-led, not-for-profit company, forming innovative collaborations to solve industry wide challenges.

“We are initiating several ‘lighthouse’ projects within our innovation ecosystem participants to accelerate this process,” Morton said. “This authenticates the objective and collaborative nature we offer, which I believe will deliver a unique set of unparalleled benefits to our participant groups, the environment and future custodians of these parcels of land.”

Gradiant concentrating its mining proposition

There are plenty of mining applications one can see Boston, Massachusetts-based Gradiant’s end-to-end water technology solutions serving.

A spinout of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the company calls itself the “experts” of industrial water, water reuse, minimum liquid discharge (MLD) and zero liquid discharge (ZLD), and resource recovery of metals and minerals.

That is a big remit, hence the reason why it caters to at least nine industries on a global basis in mission-critical water operations, with over 70% of its clients being Fortune 100 companies in the world’s essential industries.

Mining companies have historically been wary of suppliers that serve a variety of industries, believing their needs rarely cross over with the requirements of other industries. Gradiant believes it is different in that its solutions incorporate not only the hardware and software to fine-tune water technologies, but also the artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure the tools being used are effective regardless of the inputs.

This includes the RO Infinity™ (ROI™) platform of membrane-based solutions for complex water and wastewater challenges, which combine Gradiant’s patented counterflow reverse osmosis (CFRO) technology with reverse osmosis and low-pressure membrane processes. ROI solutions enable customers around the world to achieve sustainability goals to reduce their water and carbon footprint, the company says.

This platform is complemented with AI-backed SmartOps™, an integrated digital platform for asset performance management to optimise and predict plant operations using historical and real-time process data, resulting in performance and cost efficiencies.

Prakash Govindan, Co-Founder and COO of the company, says most water solutions on the market are built for consistent liquid/solid feeds and work effectively when the input is in accordance with these specifications. When the feed changes, they often become ineffective, needing to be updated or changed out, which costs money and impacts the various processes on either side of the water treatment section.

“The machine-learning algorithms we use – neural networks and time-series algorithms – ensure we consistently optimise the operation of our solutions,” Govindan told IM. “These tools make sure we always use the right performance metrics and don’t lose efficiency in the face of variability.”

The algorithms cannot change the hardware built into the water treatment plant, but it can, for instance, change the speed of the pumps or blowers. “We call it balancing, which is all part of our IP portfolio,” Govindan said.

SmartOps is an integrated digital platform for asset performance management to optimise and predict plant operations using historical and real-time process data

For mining companies looking to employ water treatment tools at their operations, this results in Gradiant’s technology being able to concentrate metals to a higher degree than any other solution on the market, according to Govindan.

“We can concentrate an aqueous solution to the point where you can produce a solid material that miners can then process,” he said.

Considering desalination applications represent a significant portion of the company’s work to this point – through its CFRO process – the mining sector has already provided some wins.

The CFRO process enables remote inland desalination and water reuse that was not previously possible due to a lack of viable brine management solutions, according to Gradiant, concentrating brines to saturation for disposal or crystallisation while producing a purified product water stream for beneficial reuse.

One significant nickel miner in Australia with a brine stream is using this solution to recover large amounts of concentrate it can feed through to its captive processing plant to produce an end-use product.

“Gradiant’s technologies enable clients to recover more than 50% of the nickel and cobalt from leached brine – this stream would have otherwise been wasted without our solutions,” Gradiant said. “Overall, this was a client benefit of about 20% increase in nickel and cobalt production across the entire operation.”

When considered together with the energy savings (75%), freshwater savings (25%) and environmental benefits, Gradiant continues to see high interest from miners around the world to adopt its solutions, it says.

That is before even factoring in the other complementary benefits that come with using SmartOps.

“All our products benefit from in-built sensors that not only allow us to update the operating parameters based on the detected materials, but also carry out scheduled maintenance on the hardware using these algorithms,” Govindan said. “This allows us to carry out 30-40% less service intervals than many conventional suppliers as we only take the solution out of operation based on what the data is telling us.

“Not only this, but we also have complete oversight of these parameters from remote locations, meaning you can monitor the systems from remote operating centres and not remain on site after installation.”

With mines getting more remote and hiring local employees getting even harder with the well-documented skills shortages, Gradiant feels its solutions will continue to win miners over.

Babylon expands mine water management activities with RWG acquisition

Babylon Pump and Power says it has executed a business asset acquisition agreement to acquire the operational assets of Resource Water Group (RWG) for A$3 million ($2.1 million) in a transaction that it hopes will result in more early-stage project engagement with mining companies.

Established in 2011 and based in Canning Vale, Western Australia, RWG provides bore field test pumping equipment and related data collection services as well as a range of water management disciplines to the mining industry. These services are critical to water users across the resources sector as they develop water management strategies in line with their environmental obligations and operational requirements, it says.

Back in June prior to the announced acquisition, Babylon said it was planning on expanding its mine water management activities.

Under the business acquisition agreement, Babylon will acquire the operational assets (independently valued at over A$2 million), goodwill, contracts and intellectual property of RWG. RWG’s founder, Frank Ashe, has entered a services contract and will become a member of the group’s senior executive. Three other RWG employees will also commence employment with Babylon.

Babylon Managing Director, Michael Shelby, said: “This is an exciting and well-priced acquisition for Babylon which will significantly expand our water management activities. The acquisition broadens our offering to new and existing clients, brings in additional technology and business development capability whilst complementing our existing business.

“RWG’s test pumping services are considered an early-stage project engagement service and have consequently led to relationships with a range of well recognised global and Australian mining companies including BHP, Rio Tinto, FMG, Roy Hill and Newcrest Mining. We expect that these relationships will also facilitate rental opportunities for our specialist pump rental assets, supporting the Company’s renewed strategic focus on multi-disciplined water management equipment and services.”

Babylon will move into new, purpose-built premises around November of this year and RWG will co-locate its assets and operations into the new facility.

RWG’s Ashe said: “This is an exciting time to be joining forces with Babylon as it builds into a diversified water services business. I am looking forward to joining the team and contributing to strategic growth initiatives and capitalising on RWG’s network of relationships.”

Tetra Tech expands water management practice with Piteau Associates buy

Tetra Tech, a provider of high-end consulting and engineering services, has further expanded its sustainable water management practice with the addition of Piteau Associates, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Established in 1976 by Dr Douglas Piteau, the firm is a global leader in sustainable natural resource analytics including hydrologic numerical modelling and dewatering system design. Its staff pioneered the development of discrete element numerical models to simulate rock mass behaviour for slope design and hydraulic integrity, Tetra Tech said.

“With the majority of its staff having advanced degrees, the Piteau team solves the natural resource industry’s most complex geotechnical and water-related challenges and has been an important contributor to key industry textbooks, scientific publications, and best practice guidelines involving applied rock mechanics, hydrogeology, hydrology and geochemistry,” the company said. “Recognised global experts on the Piteau Associates team serve on numerous technical review boards and audit and assurance teams on projects around the world.”

Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO, added: “Tetra Tech has a long history of Leading with Science® through the application of advanced analytics to water management. The addition of Piteau Associates further expands our expertise in the specialised analysis of sustainable water management and geotechnics for our commercial resource management clients.”

Mark Hawley, Piteau Associates Chairman and CEO, said: “We are excited to join the Tetra Tech family, and to add our expertise to Tetra Tech’s comprehensive scope of engineering and consulting services. We share Tetra Tech’s strong commitment to providing high quality, sustainable and practical solutions based on sound engineering, and focus on projects and developing long-term client relationships. By joining Tetra Tech, we can collaborate on highly technical multi-disciplinary projects, further our global growth strategy, and provide new opportunities for our team and a broader scope of services to our clients.”

Piteau Associates is joining Tetra Tech’s Commercial/International Services Group.

SNC-Lavalin to expand tailings and water management business with appointment of Trevor Sparks

SNC-Lavalin has appointed Dr Trevor Sparks as Global Vice-President of Tailings and Water Management for the company’s Mining & Metallurgy business.

Trevor is based in the UK and will lead the expansion of the company’s tailings and water management global business in the mining industry, working in collaboration with teams around the world.

Cesar Inostroza, Mining & Metallurgy Senior Vice-President, SNC-Lavalin, said: “We are excited to welcome Trevor to the team. He brings a wealth of proficiency and knowledge and will play an important role in leading and deploying our world-class expertise aimed at helping our clients solve their tailings and water challenges in a sustainable manner.”

Dr Sparks has 30 years of experience in fluid engineering, solid-liquid filtration and mineral processing, as well as project execution, sales & marketing and consultancy. This includes roles with Outotec and, most recently, Metso Outotec.

He has a recognised track record of delivering operational excellence in leading the expansion of businesses and markets, according to SNC-Lavalin. He has guided and delivered numerous international projects, working with multidisciplinary teams to achieve significant increases in business performance.

Cedric Minería selects CDE EvoWash wet processing tech for Buin sand, gravel ops

Chilean mining and aggregates company, Cedric Minería, has announced a major overhaul of its aggregates business following a significant investment in advanced wet processing technology from CDE, the Belfast-based company says.

The family business, which expanded into aggregates production in 2003, has revealed plans for a new wet processing solution at its Buin operation.

Established in 1981, Cedric Minería specialised in the production of calcium carbonate and sulphur products before diversifying its interests and launching its silica operation, Mina Nancy, near the city of Calama in Antofagasta Region.

It soon secured listing as a strategic supplier of silica to state-owned copper mining company Codelco for its copper smelting plant in Chuquicamata, northern Chile.

Following the success of its silica business, Cedric Minería soon after commissioned its first aggregates processing plant in Buin which supplies the local market with a range of washed sand and gravel products for pre-cast concrete, asphalt, pipe bedding and more.

This summer, CDE will commission the EvoWash™ sand wash plant and an AquaCycle™ water management system at the company’s Buin site, replacing their existing washing screws.

Using CDE cyclone technology, the new plant will enable Cedric Minería to produce two grades of high quality, in-spec fine sands: 0-5 mm and 0-8 mm.

A compact, modular sand washing system, CDE’s EvoWash screens and separates the smaller sand and gravel fractions through an integrated high-frequency dewatering screen, sump and hydrocyclones which provide control of silt cut points and eliminates the loss of quality fines with significant commercial value.

An alternative to water extraction and the costly process of pumping water to the plant, CDE’s AquaCycle significantly reduces costly water consumption by ensuring up to 90% of process water is recycled for immediate recirculation, the company says. It helps to accelerate return on investment by maximising production efficiency, minimising the loss of valuable fines and reducing water and energy costs. A single, compact and user-friendly unit, it can be applied to high and low tonnages across many market sectors.

Cedric Minería owner, Cedric Fernández, says the investment in CDE technology is a significant step forward for the company.

“We’re making a huge technological leap forward with this new plant. Cedric Minería branched into the aggregates business almost two decades ago and throughout that time we have operated a traditional system,” Fernández said. “The existing plant has served us well, but we need a modern solution that is future-ready. Our latest investment in CDE wet processing technology represents the beginning of a new chapter for our company.”

Fernández says the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the construction industry but anticipates strong future demand for sand and aggregates to support the country’s public works investments.

CDE Business Development Executive, Gustavo Brasil, says older technology is very much under the spotlight for materials processors as they work to remedy inefficiencies.

“Recognising the limitations of the existing setup, the team at Cedric Minería are setting out on an ambitious transformation project to replace a traditional processing plant with a much more advanced and efficient technological solution,” he said.

The CDE solution engineered for Cedric Minería will revolutionise its current process, he added.

“CDE’s Evowash solution will enable Cedric Minería to produce superior fine sands with less moisture content while the AquaCycle water management system will deliver massive efficiency gains by recycling process water and driving down operational costs,” he said.

Tronox boosts mineral sands dredging process with help of IPR-supplied SlurrySucker

Following a successful one-week trial, heavy minerals company Tronox Mineral Sands has taken delivery of a SlurrySucker dredging unit from Integrated Pump Rental.

The SlurrySucker will remove sand from the process dams near the Tronox mining operation on South Africa’s West Coast. This installation enhances the safety and efficiency of the dredging process, which previously had to be carried out manually by a team of underwater divers, IPR said.

“The pumping capacity of the dredging unit will ensure optimal operation of Tronox’s dams which need to be kept at the required storage volumes at all times,” Ruaan Venter, Rental Development Manager at Integrated Pump Rental, said.

The dredging unit will assist Tronox in regularly cleaning sediment from its process dams, reducing the risk of pump blockage or failure. This solution aims to provide rapid results on a cost-effective basis, while the remote operation raises safety levels, the company added.

To withstand the corrosive effects of salt water, the SlurrySucker has been equipped with a stainless steel casing as well as stainless steel components including wear plates and impellers. The units were manufactured at Integrated Pump Rental’s facility in Jet Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The SlurrySucker dredging unit comprises a floating barge with an electric hoist operated from the side of the dam. This ensures a high level of safety with the barge being operated remotely, including the lifting and lowering of the pump. At Tronox, the SlurrySucker is designed to pump 150 cu.m/h of sediment – with a solids content of 50% – back to the thickener in the plant.

“The electrically-driven unit also makes sure that there is no risk of contaminating the water in the dams with diesel or oil leakage,” Venter says. The compact unit is easy to transport between the dams requiring dredging, making for optimal usage of the equipment.

With its local manufacturing capability and technical support offering, Integrated Pump Rental says it is well equipped to maintain the SlurrySucker out of its Johannesburg facility.

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.”

TAKRAF dry-stacked tailings test work boost for Los Andes Copper’s Vizcachitas project

Los Andes Copper says it has received additional positive results from the ongoing prefeasibility study (PFS) metallurgical test work at its Vizcachitas project in Chile.

These results show improved filtration rates for both the fine and coarse fraction tailings compared with previous testing, it said, reinforcing the decision to adopt dry-stacked tailings at the project.

An October press release regarding PFS metallurgical test work carried out by SGS demonstrated that the Vizcachitas tailings were amenable to being filtered and dry-stacked.

These same coarse and fine representative tailings samples were sent to the TAKRAF laboratories for further settling and filtration assessments. Los Andes said the TAKRAF work tested various settling and filtration parameters, including those previously tested.

The studies demonstrated that for the coarse fraction vacuum filtration, the rates improved from 1.9 t/h/sq.m to 3.4 t/h/sq.m when compared with the previous results. For the finer fraction, the settling velocities improved from 8.4 m/h to 16 m/h and the pressure filtration rates improved from 0.6 t/h/sq.m to 0.7 t/h/sq.m. The expected cake moistures for both filtration technologies were 15%.

These positive results mean that the Vizcachitas project, processing 110,000 t/d of ore, would only need to use eleven standard 162 sq.m belt filters and four 2.5 m x 2.5 m pressure filters for the tailings dewatering operation, Los Andes said, noting that other operations in the world were successfully operating with similar filter arrangements.

“Tailings filtration reduces water consumption by 50% when compared to thickened tailings disposal alternatives,” Los Andes said. “Furthermore, filtered tailings can be handled by trucks, conveyors and shovels, eliminating the need for the construction and operation of a tailings dam.

“The adoption of this technology puts the Vizcachitas project at the forefront of the environmentally responsible practices being adopted for the future of sustainable mining globally.”