Tag Archives: water management

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.”

Vale partners with NORCAT for mining innovation challenge

NORCAT and Vale have teamed up to launch the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge to, they say, facilitate and enhance Vale’s capabilities to bring new, state-of-the-art technologies into its mining operations and accelerate the rate of technology adoption in the global mining industry.

As current global events disrupt regular business operations and the global mining industry continues to undergo a digital transformation, mining companies around the world are looking to become more agile and resilient by embracing digitalisation and investing in technologies related to safety, sustainability and operational efficiency.

The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is looking to identify technology-enabled solutions to three common problem areas identified by Vale. Specifically, the NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is focusing on the issues of smelter acid management, underground operator alertness and excessive water and run of material in underground mines.

“As the global ‘one-stop-shop’ for all that is the future of mining technology, our goal is to facilitate and encourage innovative and disruptive thinking within the mining technology ecosystem,” Don Duval, NORCAT CEO, says. “As the mining industry continues to transform, it requires new levels of openness, innovation and collaboration. Challenge-based initiatives have proven to be effective in uncovering new ideas and different points of view, and we are excited to partner with Vale to further the acceleration, adoption and deployment of emerging technologies that are poised to transform the global mining industry.”

The NORCAT Open Innovation Challenge is open to innovative start-ups, entrepreneurs and problem solvers from across Canada. Successful applications must have the capacity and confidence to develop and deploy a proof-of-concept inside one of Vale’s operations in Sudbury, Ontario, by March 2021. As part of the process, Vale will provide technical oversight and feedback to winning entries over a four-month period to prepare for product development and testing prior to completion.

Anthony Downs, Manager of Digital and Information Technology for Vale’s Base Metal Operations, said: “At Vale, we are obsessed with safety and risk mitigation. Open innovation is a key enabler that allows us to rapidly identify and trial novel risk management solutions. When they prove effective, we move them to implementation within our operations at an accelerated pace.

“Vale is pleased to partner with NORCAT on this challenge and looks forward to reviewing the innovative solutions the challenge inspires.”

As part of its mandate, NORCAT continues to identify and engage with mining technology companies from around the world to support the development and adoption of innovative technologies poised to transform the global mining industry.

This is not the first time NORCAT and Vale have teamed up. Earlier this year, the two announced plans to develop and deploy an innovative blended learning program that, they said, would transform how the global mining industry trains and educates its workforce.

IMDEX SRU technology delivering water savings for drillers

With the search for new mineral discoveries increasingly occurring at depth and undercover in remote locations, the pressure to find better ways to reduce water consumption during exploration drilling programs is vital as companies meet their environmental, social and governance obligations.

Global mining technology company IMDEX says it is meeting the challenges with solids removal units (SRUs) that can reduce water consumption by up to 80% during drilling. The savings mean less draw on water from sources including rivers, dams or underground aquifers, and a reduction in water transported to the drill sites.

Adoption of the technology has increased significantly in Europe to meet strict environmental guidelines, along with North America and some South American countries, IMDEX says. IMDEX SRUs Global Product Manager, Chris Havenga, said there had also been a dramatic increase in adoption in Africa in the past two years.

He said mining companies were increasingly directing drilling contractors to use SRUs because of the environmental benefits.

As an example, Havenga said a hole to be drilled to 500 m would require a ground sump with a capacity of 22,500 litres, but this would be reduced to 5,000 litres by using an SRU: a water saving of 77%.

Other benefits include a 75% reduction in drilling fluid consumption; water cartage and disposal costs reduced by up to 75%; and a saving of up to A$10,000 ($7,132) on digging and remediating sumps.

“With minerals being deeper and underground, deeper holes need to be drilled so holes of 1,000 m or more are no longer uncommon,” Havenga said. “Using the traditional sump method alone means increasing the number of sumps and the footprint of the drilling operation. The centrifuge in our SRUs means we speed up settling speeds and contractors can drill the same hole with less fluid and less solids retained in the fluids.”

Other benefits include improving relationships with land owners, gaining access to sensitive or remote areas, and reducing the risk to waterways and local wildlife.

BQE Water to manage and treat water at El Mirador copper-gold mine

BQE Water has signed two agreements with EcuaCorriente SA (ECSA), an Ecuador subsidiary of a Chinese consortium, to prepare an adaptive mine water management plan and to improve the design of an existing water treatment plant for the El Mirador mine the consortium owns and operates in south-eastern Ecuador.

The first contract is for an assessment of the water treatment plant and a water management plan that is adaptive over the life of the mine based on water flow and quality that will be monitored as part of the plan.

Added to this is a second contract to provide technical support for implementing immediate improvements in the engineering design and operation of the existing water treatment facility to increase its robustness and reduce both project risks and long-term operating costs, BQE said.

Qiaofeng Xu, the Project Director for ECSA, said: “We selected BQE Water for their unique technical expertise, their successful track record in the design and operation of large water treatment plants for major Chinese mining producers, and for their ability to support project execution utilising personnel from their South American, China and Canadian offices.”

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, said: “Our ability to do business with large Chinese metal producers and the success of our water treatment operations in China were instrumental in securing these new contracts. The El Mirador project is significant for BQE Water as it showcases our unique strength to be a trusted water services provider for mining projects with Chinese interests at a time when Chinese investment in global mining projects can be expected to grow.”

Oscar Lopez, General Manager for Latin America at BQE Water, said the El Mirador project represents the first large mining project where the company will be the technical lead for the overall site water management plan rather than focus only on water treatment.

“And, with the long time horizon for water treatment at El Mirador, the current contracts may provide an opportunity for further cooperation between our two companies to support EcuaCorriente to reduce life cycle costs and conduct mining operations in an environmentally friendly manner at El Mirador,” Lopez said.

The El Mirador mine, owned by a consortium consisting of China Railway Construction Corporation and Tonglin Nonferrous Metals Group, is a large copper-gold porphyry project that was brought into production in 2019. It is expected to produce an average over 200 MIb (90,718 t) of copper and 60,000 oz of gold annually for the next 30 years.

The project site is located in a net positive water balance environment and will require ECSA to treat and discharge mine water into the environment throughout the project life, BQE said. “As production ramps-up and the mine footprint increases, both the volume of water requiring treatment and the water composition will change.”

Weir Minerals’ Terraflowing offers up tailings storage and reprocessing options

More details of Weir Minerals novel dewatering process, TerraFlowingTM, have emerged as the company steps up marketing of its tailings management offering.

This week, on May 27, Nils Steward, General Manager Operations and Development at Weir Minerals, will describe the test work and results achieved in the development of TerraFlowing in a webinar and, ahead of that, the company has provided some important details about the technology.

“This process has been developed to address both the value proposition of tailings inherent in the tailings, and tailings storage,” the company said.

Weir Minerals is able to look at tailings reprocessing as well as storage with TerraFlowing thanks to the incorporation of a two-stage cyclone dewatering process followed by centrifugation of the final stage of cycloning overflow, it said.

In this process, three dewatered tailings streams are produced: a primary cyclone underflow, a secondary cyclone underflow and a centrifuge pulp. These three streams can be combined or used in different configurations, according to Weir Minerals.

This three-stage system offers the flexibility to make provision for variations in mineralogy and particle size distribution (PSD) as well as the opportunity to recover ‘tailings as a resource’, it said.

This ability to deal with feed variations in PSD and mineralogy, and deliver variations in PSDs, tailings solids concentrations and recoveries is owing to the ability to vary the cyclone and centrifuge configurations and operation, Weir Minerals said.

“This flexibility further allows for optimisation of power utilisation,” Weir Minerals said. “In many instances, water is an annual issue; during the rainfall season water recovery is less important than dry seasons. During the rainy season, the need to operate the process at maximum water recovery, associated with maximum power consumption, is less necessary and power can be conserved.”

Two main TerraFlowing process outcomes have been identified by the company corresponding to:

  • A maximum solids recovery at maximum solids concentration of the two cyclone and centrifuge streams; and
  • A recovery of a tailings stream for tailings storage facility (TSF) embankment construction with the remaining cyclone and centrifuge streams being combined for deposition within the TSF.

Water recovery can be up to 85% with a 78% wet solids concentration final tailings product from combining the three streams in the maximum solids concentration case, the company says. Transport of this final stackable tailings product will be by positive displacement pumps, conveyors or trucks, the company noted.

For the case where the primary cyclone underflow has been shown to deliver a PSD suitable for TSF embankment construction, through geotechnical investigation, the remaining secondary cyclone underflow and centrifuge pulp is suitable for beaching deposition within the TSF, it said. The water recovery in this process is up to 75%, while transport of these tailings products can be through centrifugal pumps.

Weir Minerals says: “TerraFlowing is an opportunity to not only store a thickened product but also recover the value in the tailings through the construction of TSF embankments or the manufacture of structural concrete products, as well as shotcrete for reinforcement and support.”

To find out more about the webinar click here.

Weir Minerals targets customer ‘pain points’ with integrated solutions teams

Weir Minerals says its integrated solutions teams are combining experience from comminution to tailings, from chemistry to hydraulics, to deliver reliable solutions that solve its customers’ most frustrating pain points.

Since brothers James and George Weir founded what would become the Weir Group with their 1871 invention on the Weir boiler feed pump, engineering expertise, the company says, has been the driving force of its success.

“For almost 150 years, Weir has built its business on the principle that if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right and to do something right on a mine, you need the right team,” it said.

This is where the company’s integrated solutions teams come in, which combine technical expertise, local access and global knowledge to optimise mining companies’ entire process, according to the company.

John McNulty, Vice President of Global Engineering and Technology for Weir Minerals, says the industry needs integrated solutions now more than ever.

“With this approach, we continually listen to our customer’s pain points and identify ways in which we can improve their process,” he said. “Integrated solutions also aligns closely with the Weir Group’s sustainability strategy.

“We often talk to our customers about the challenges they face in terms of energy consumption, water usage and waste, and brainstorm ways in which we can help reduce their environmental impact. In this current climate, this approach is absolutely critical.”

When confronted with a problem that requires more than a single piece of equipment, Weir Minerals draws on its integrated solutions teams, made up of process engineers, design engineers, product experts, materials scientists, supply chain and logistics experts, as well as local sales teams who know the customer’s site.

These multi-disciplinary teams ensure a problem is considered from all perspectives, identifying potential issues and opportunities to optimise the circuit with upstream and downstream benefits, according to Weir Minerals.

With almost 10,000 employees operating in more than 50 countries, Weir Minerals can build teams with experience working in every kind of mine and quarry, in environments ranging from Canada’s frozen oil sands region and Indonesia’s rain-prone coal mines to remote deserts in Chile, Mongolia and Australia.

“As well as optimising equipment to provide maximum efficiency and wear life in any given situation, the integrated solutions team’s expertise allows them to tailor solutions that can be flown onto site when the roads freeze in the winter, prevent crocodiles climbing onto floating equipment, and utilise waste products like tailings as a resource,” the company says.

Seda Kahraman, a Regional Process Engineering Manager for Weir Minerals, says the company believes nothing is ‘impossible’, with engineers continually looking for better ways of doing things.

“Our team is made up of specialists each possessing different process systems’ expertise including, but not limited to: troubleshooting, designing tools and process simulation programs,” he said. “We combine this wealth of knowledge to deliver innovative solutions that address our customers’ varied needs.”

The key to Weir Minerals’ integrated solutions approach is the entire team of experts collaborating to identify all root causes of a customer’s challenge, considering all the contributing factors – which is where Weir Minerals’ interdisciplinary expertise is so important, it says.

The team perform process audits during site visits to identify bottlenecks and then, using flowsheets, mass balances, 3D layouts, and feasibility studies, advise on the most appropriate solution for the customer to not just resolve the problem they came to Weir Minerals with, but to optimise their process to save energy, reduce water waste or increase capacity, and ultimately save the customer money.

Talbot provides total water management solution for South Africa coal producer

Talbot recently came to the rescue of a South Africa coal producer looking to remove gypsum from its waste stream, thereby freeing up capacity at a downstream dam.

While Talbot has more than three decades of experience in delivering industrial water management solutions across the African continent, what is not generally realised is the fact the company’s expertise extends beyond the ambit of water itself, the South Africa sustainable water and wastewater specialist says.

“Dealing with sludges and waste streams, typically with high suspended loads, is often required to provide a total water management solution and is viewed as being both a complex and expensive process,” Talbot said, explaining this needn’t be the case.

Talbot Consulting Services General Manager, Claire Lipsett, says the leading Highveld coal producer in question called on the company to provide a solution for the removal of gypsum generated as a by-product of its coal mine water purification process.

Lipsett explains the waste stream flowing out of the treatment process into a downstream holding dam contained a high content of gypsum, to the extent it significantly reduced the facility’s finite storage capacity.

Following an on-site examination of the processes involved, Talbot proposed a simple and well-known technology that would provide an effective solution and could be proven on site during live operations through pilot testing.

In this case, a hydraulic filter press was selected to dewater the solids, dry and press them into briquette form for transportation to end-use customers. The filtrate – minus the extracted solids – was directed to the evaporation dam before returning to site processes via a blend line, Talbot said.

The effectiveness of the solution was proven during a two-week trial in March, which achieved impressive results, according to Lipsett. “We reduced the waste solids from around 2,900 mg/l to just 84 mg/l,” she said. “We also demonstrated that the technology would extract gypsum at a rate of 100 kg/h on a full-scale site operation.”

The trial, Lipsett says, showed that effective solids removal could be achieved in a single-step process, without the use of flocculants or coagulants. It also offered the client an easy-to-operate, appropriate solution to achieve total water management for the site.

Pilot trials conducted by Talbot, such as this, generate several benefits that enable clients to not only fully understand the short-term implications of investing in a new technology but how they will positively impact on the future operation of a business, according to Lipsett.

“Before making any form of commitment, the client has the opportunity to engage with the technology and equipment in terms of look and feel, its effectiveness and ease of operation, all the while receiving technical and commercial guidance from a supplier that is a leader in its class and is committed to providing long-term support, not just a one-off sale,” she said.

Financial projections from Talbot of conceptual models prepared during the piloting process include not only the original capital cost of the equipment but anticipated expenditure on items like membrane replacement, operational and maintenance costs.

The company said: “This provides potential users with a comprehensive set of economic life-cycle projections, thus enabling them to make informed decisions on the short-, medium- and long-term benefits and implications with no hidden extras.”

Lipsett cites the results obtained in a similar process employed by a South Africa platinum producer where the recovery of precious metals from a wastewater stream was achieved using the same technology and significantly exceeded initial design expectations. Pilot trials had a substantial impact on the business case and ultimately enabled the client to invest in the solution, according to the company.

“While this may be an extreme case, there are many instances in which the materials recovered have significant intrinsic value so that solids recovery projects not only pay for themselves but deliver sustainable economic value into the future,” the company said.