Tag Archives: water treatment

BQE Water to remove selenium and sulphate from mine water at US mine

BQE Water says it has entered into an Operating Services Agreement with a US-based mining project to provide water treatment services for the simultaneous removal of selenium and sulphate in compliance with environmental regulations.

Under the agreement, BQE Water will provide plant commissioning and operations services for an initial period of four years following completion of the plant performance test. Compensation for operations services consists of a base monthly fee and a supplemental fee for the volume of water treated that meets discharge specifications.

The agreement comes after BQE Water completed process engineering design work in 2020 and 2021 to upgrade the existing water treatment plant at the project site to enable the removal of both selenium and sulphate to below regulated limits, which are among the most stringent globally, it said.

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said: “This project is truly exciting for us. First off, the requirement for the simultaneous removal of selenium and sulphate allows us to push our expertise and leadership in key areas of modern mine water treatment. Secondly, it is gratifying to work with a major metal producer who understands the role of water in today’s resource projects and the value of having specialists operate plants which enables the project owner to focus on their core areas of expertise.”

Detailed engineering for the plant retrofit is nearing completion with the project currently in the construction phase. The plant is expected to complete commissioning in the first half of 2022.

Clean TeQ Water to test BIONEX water treatment solution in Inner Mongolia

Clean TeQ Water says it has been awarded a contract to design, procure, deliver and install a BIONEX water treatment plant at a coal mine in Inner Mongolia, China.

Clean TeQ Managing Director, Sam Riggall, said: “We have persisted for a long time to make inroads into the very large Chinese water treatment market. As we move towards the proposed demerger of our water business later this year, it is pleasing to see that we have achieved some initial success in that important market as we continue to make good progress on our goal of growing revenues.”

The BIONEX solution is a combination of the company’s Continuous Ionic Filtration and BIOCLENS (bacteria encapsulated in a protective PVA lens) technologies, which, the company says, has been demonstrated to be highly effective for removal of nitrate from wastewater.

“This market is growing rapidly due to increasingly strict regulation and increasing safety concerns over the disposal of waste waters with even very low levels of nitrate,” CleanTeq said. “Nitrate removal from water effluent is a significant challenge throughout China.”

The plant has been designed to treat and remove nitrate from 12,000 cu.m /d of coal mine in-pit ground water to below 1 parts per million in order to comply with local regulations governing the disposal of mine water.

The contract, which is valued at approximately A$2 million ($1.55 million), has been awarded to the company’s wholly owned Beijing-based subsidiary by Beijing Beihua Zhongqing Environment Engineering Technology Co Ltd. (BHZQ). BHZQ is a subsidiary of Beijing Enterprise Water Group (BEWG).

BEWG is a diversified water company focused on operating water assets throughout China. It is also one of the largest water treatment companies in Asia, CleanTeQ said, adding that BHZQ had expressed an interest in ongoing cooperation once this first BIONEX plant is successfully commissioned.

Once completed, this application will be the company’s first ever large-scale application of BIONEX in China.

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.”

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.

BQE Water hits Selen-IX milestone at Kemess gold project

BQE Water says it has successfully completed the commissioning and performance test of the first industrial scale plant using its patented Selen-IX™ process for selenium management.

The installation at the Kemess property in northern British Columbia, Canada, owned by Centerra Gold has, since late August 2020, operated continuously. It has treated 65 litres/s (5,600 cu.m/d) of mine-influenced water to produce effluent containing selenium concentrations of less than two parts per billion, BQE Water said.

Fully staffed and operated by BQE Water with support from Centerra Gold mechanical and electrical maintenance personnel, the plant is expected to operate until the end of October and then shut down for the winter season. Plant operations are expected to restart in the Spring of 2021, BQE Water says.

Selen-IX was developed by BQE Water specifically to address the difficult to remove ‘selenate’ form of selenium from mine-influenced waters employing a physico-chemical, instead of biological, method of treatment.

As the Kemess mine plant enters the operations phase, Selen-IX becomes the first commercially available non-biological treatment process to be applied on a large industrial scale capable of removing selenate to levels below two parts per billion, BQE Water said. This is achieved without the risk of inadvertent organo-selenium production that is associated with biological systems. Additionally, the solid residue produced by Selen-IX is stable and is suitable for blending with tailings.

“This plant provides confirmation that a proven non-biological treatment approach for selenate is now available, something that has been lacking since selenium regulations were first introduced,” the company said.

Ron Hampton, Project Director for the Kemess project at Centerra Gold, said: “We are pleased that the water treatment plant met the conditions of the performance test, which is a major milestone for our project. The ability to effectively control selenium is key to the future operation of the Kemess underground project.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “Centerra Gold’s exemplary commitment to a clean environment enabled us to first pilot and then implement Selen-IX on the basis of delivering a selenium management solution with superior outcomes compared to treatment systems used at other mines. I am extremely proud that we delivered on that promise.”

Centerra Gold is looking to re-establish the former operating Kemess site into an underground mine and processing facility, able to operate over a 12-year mine life, according to a 2016 feasibility study.

ABB goes up a level with new LST200 measurement device

ABB has launched a new feature-rich ultrasonic level transmitter that, it says, is designed specifically for industries with large installed bases of level measurement devices, particularly water and wastewater treatment, which could find its way into the flotation process.

With its modular design and intelligent algorithms, the LST200 is easy to install, commission and maintain and stable in use, decreasing total expenditure over the product’s lifetime, according to the company.

“Commissioning the LST200 is easy thanks to a set-up menu that guides customers through configuration within one minute,” ABB says. “Operating the device is easy because the LST200 has a blue backlight that makes it highly visible even in strong sunlight or darkness in locations such as lagoons and settling ponds. Maintaining the device is easy because it offers real-time echo waveform and diagnostic messaging for efficient troubleshooting.”

High stability is achieved by a sophisticated algorithm that enables the LST200 to detect and automatically compensate for any instability in the strength of the ultrasonic signal. This makes the LST200 a good choice in process basins for aeration, chlorine contact, skimmer tanks, sedimentation, and flotation thickeners where there can be unstable surface echo from foam or turbulence, according to ABB.

An algorithm with noise filtering, meanwhile, makes the LST200 useful in wet wells, lift stations and pumping stations because it is immune to noise from heavy equipment such as variable speed drives. Temperature compensation is another key feature, with the LST200 offering reliable accuracy that is better than +/-3 mm or 0.25% of full span, ABB says.

Submersible in water, the LST200 can survive flooding. It has a waterproof rating of IP68 relevant for the water and wastewater industries.

“A non-contact instrument made from polycarbonate, it is resistant to process liquids such as mild acid and base, chloride and oxidiser, making the routine work for cleaning unnecessary,” ABB says. “For open channel flow measurement, built-in equations and supporting software prevents the need for any manual calculations, saving the user time and effort.”

Jack Wang, Global Product Manager for Ultrasonic Level Transmitters at ABB, says: “Thanks to its modular design, user-friendly interface and built-in intelligence, it meets our customers’ key requirements for ease and reliability when they are considering total expenditure on the device from purchasing, to installation and maintenance.”

Tsurumi ups the slurry pumping ante with GPN 837

Tsurumi has released a new heavy-duty slurry pump that, it says, almost doubles the output of its predecessor pumps.

Coming with a water output of up to 9,000 litres/min, the new GPN 837 is the top model in the series, topping the GPN 622.

“However, ‘water’ can hardly be taken literally: declared as a “heavy sand pump”, the GPN 837 is intended for use wherever considerable amounts of solid matter are involved,” the company says.

This includes gravel pits or where sand, sludge, slurry and preferably also bentonite are involved. Mining is also a target market.

With these applications in mind, the engineers designed the pump with a solid construction. At 150 litres/s, hard rock up to 30 mm in size can pass through the pump with ease. Also, the agitator at the suction opening mixes mud and water so that the solution becomes more fluid.

The pump comes with a dry weight of 815 kg, a height of roughly one meter, is driven by an electric motor with 37 kW (400 V) and can pump vertically up to 24 m. When submerged, it is pressure-resistant to a depth of 30 m, the company says.

The water is diverted in a spiral around the pump – a design to counter the high abrasive effect of the pumped medium – while the impeller and suction plate is made of chrome cast iron, the housing of grey cast iron GG 20. For critical elements such as the double inside mechanical seal, the manufacturer uses silicon carbide. Tsurumi´s oil lifter, which lubricates the pump shaft in any position reliably by centrifugal force, is also a feature.

Clean TeQ DESALX plant up and running at Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville gold mine

Clean TeQ Holdings Limited has formally handed over a Continuous Ion Exchange Desalination (DESALX®) plant to Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville gold mine in Victoria, Australia.

Clean TeQ says it was engaged to design, supply and commission a two million litre-per-day Clean TeQ DESALX mine water treatment plant, with the plant designed to deliver a sustainable water management solution by treating mine process water.

The plant construction was completed in late 2019, with commissioning and operations commencing in early 2020. Now, Clean TeQ has confirmed the plant has passed the performance tests specified in the engineering, procurement and construction contract and the customer has issued a formal notice of acceptance and completion, it said.

Sam Riggall, Clean TeQ CEO, said: “After successfully demonstrating the world’s first ever commercial scale CIF plant in Oman late last year, this is yet another moment of great significance for Clean TeQ.

“Confirmation of the successful deployment of our innovative DESALX solution for this application, designed and delivered by Clean TeQ, is strong validation of our proprietary continuous ion exchange technology, and provides us with a firm foothold in the mining waste water treatment market from which we can continue to grow the business.”

The DESALX technology consists of two continuous ionic filtration (CIF®) modules in series removing divalent cations and anions present in the water through complementary processes. The modules contain ion exchange resins that are cycled between columns using air lifts, allowing for continuous operation and regeneration of the system. This system increases impurity removal efficiency, reduces chemical use, and provides protection against fouling, according to Clean TeQ.

The DESALX solution is well suited to purification of difficult to treat waste waters with high hardness, sulphate, and heavy metals as well as suspended solids which can foul reverse osmosis membranes. These types of waste waters are common in the mining industry, including acid mine drainage water, the company explained.

At Fosterville, the equipment provided by Clean TeQ includes a precipitation package to remove antimony and arsenic. The effluent from the clarifiers is treated by the DESALX plant to remove sulphate, calcium and magnesium with gypsum as the only by-product. The DESALX effluent is then further treated by reverse osmosis to produce water for re-use.

“The Clean TeQ system is a key enabling component of the customer’s overall water management strategy which includes a medium-term target of creating a true ‘zero liquid discharge’ solution that does not produce any saline brine and includes aquifer reinjection,” Clean TeQ said.

Clean TeQ Water is now focused on completing one additional key project at a copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a number of pilot programs in China.

“This Clean TeQ system, as well as the plants recently completed in Oman and Australia, are the first of their type anywhere in the world and have been deployed as part of three different technical solutions,” the company said. “The successful delivery and commissioning of these plants provides strong demonstration of the efficacy of Clean TeQ’s suite of proprietary ion exchange technologies and their versatility for metal extraction and wastewater treatment. As commercial scale plants, the facilities provide a valuable platform from which to now rapidly grow Clean TeQ Water.”

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.”

Orion settles on SAG milling and water treatment at Prieska Cu-Zn project

Two significant engineering changes have had a positive impact on the expected returns from Orion Minerals’ Prieska copper-zinc project in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

Issuing an updated bankable feasibility study (BFS) for a proposed new 2.4 Mt/y copper and zinc mining operation earlier this week, the company said there had been “numerous improvements” on the previous study completed in June 2019.

This included a 43% increase in post-tax undiscounted free cash flows from the project to A$1.2 billion ($798 million); a 36% increase in after-tax net present value (8% discount rate) to A$552 million; and a five-month reduction in the capital payback period to 2.4 years.

In the plant, the major changes include the use of SAG milling, and removal of secondary crushing, screening and rock conveyors.

The use of a SAG and ball milling circuit followed by differential flotation removes the need for multiple stages of crushing – which was included in the previous study.

The new plan envisages a high steel charged SAG mill operating in an open circuit with a secondary ball mill operated in a closed circuit with a classification cyclone cluster. The SAG mill trommel screen oversize feeds a pebble crushing circuit which returns crushed product to the SAG mill feed conveyor, the company said.

The milling circuit, meanwhile, is fed with (F100) 250 mm primary crushed material from the primary stockpile at a throughput rate of 300 t/h and produces a product size of 70% passing 75 μm, which is fed to the differential flotation circuit.

In a presentation, Orion stated that the processing plant costs from the 2019 study to the latest BFS had dropped 16% to A$91 million.

The next big change was a different de-watering philosophy of the old workings of Prieska, with the BFS including a new water treatment route. This resulted in a 30% decrease in the shaft dewatering timeline, it said.

The Hutchings Shaft and underground workings at Prieska are currently filled with water to a depth of 310 m below surface and contain a volume of 8.6 Mcu.m of water.

Dewatering of the workings via a pumping system to be installed in the Hutchings Shaft is now planned, with water being pumped into a 1 Mcu.m volume dewatering dam on surface, from where mechanical evaporators and a reverse osmosis water treatment plant will be used to dispose of and treat the water for discharge into the environment.

The use of water treatment supplements mechanical evaporation, which allows the pumping schedule to be accelerated by four months, Orion said. “Furthermore, the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation stipulated as part of the IWUL (Repli Integrated Water Use Licence) application process that provision be made for a portion of the dewatered volume to be made available for social, commercial or agricultural use in the locality.”

Forced evaporation is planned to be used as the primary means to dispose of the water with the water treatment plant (WTP) as the secondary means to treat and then discharge treated water into the environment as irrigation water.

Forced evaporation requires the use of a large evaporation dam, according to Orion, which impacts environmental considerations when compared with the small footprint required by the WTP.

“This is mitigated through the early construction of the tailings storage facility (TSF) which serves a dual purpose for early project phase dewatering and later as a TSF during the operational life of the mine,” the company said.

These actions, in addition to prioritising the extraction of higher grade (and confidence) mineral resources earlier in the mine schedule, helped significantly improve the project return economics, according to Orion.

While the changes also came with a 9% increase in peak funding requirements to A$413 million to cater for the operational improvements, it would also see 20% more payable copper produced – 226,000 t – and 17% more payable zinc produced – 680,000 t – over the 12-year mine life.

Orion’s Managing Director and CEO, Errol Smart, said: “With the Prieska BFS update now complete, the development of the Prieska project is ideally positioned to play a vital role in the local economic recovery plan for the Northern Cape region.

“The project’s low exposure to imported materials and foreign labour reduces construction challenges as the world overcomes and recovers from COVID-19.”

Smart added that the company was targeting a production start-up in 2024 as market conditions permitted.