Mining provides everything from oil and coal for power to ores and stone for metals. Without mining we wouldn't be able to design the modern city, and we would be without all the things we call necessities today. As the demands on mining as an industry rise with growing populations and the desire to advance technology and industry in general as a whole, a large number of concerns arise as mining poses extreme health, safety, and environmental risks that all need to be addressed. These risks are the subject of much debate in the modern world, and it is our responsibility not only for the sake of the individuals who labor to provide these important resources for us, but for the sake of the natural world as well that we find solutions to as many of the problems with modern mining techniques as possible.
Possibly the greatest issue with mining comes from waste. Mining for metals and salts commonly produces tons of waste per product, and often this waste is comprised of acidic materials that can affect the surrounding environment or permanently reduce a natural water source to toxic levels. Membrane Systems from Pure Aqua can be specifically designed to meet any water purification need, drastically reducing the amount of waste produced in large-scale mining operations and preventing this waste from ever being exposed to the surrounding environs. Much of this purified water can also be reused in the same mining operation, lowering the toll it takes on local water sources. It also provides a good source of water for on-site domestic uses as well (showers, sinks, restrooms, etc.).
The mining of metals produces a specific kind of waste known as tailings, which have been the source of at least one mining disaster a year, on average, worldwide. Tailings are a form of slurry, consisting of waste materials in high concentrations dissolved in water, making a kind of sludge that is not only hazardous to the environment, but unsightly and difficult to dispose of, often remaining in large ponds for decades as heavy materials seep to the bottom and the water evaporates. Among the hazardous chemicals in tailings is arsenic (in gold mining), cyanide, sulfuric acid, and a number of known carcinogens. A breakthrough technology using high-pressure membrane systems allows the condensing of tailings into large blocks, which can be stacked to reduce footprint and no longer pose the risk of seepage into natural water sources. This long-term, low-energy storage can be achieved with Pure Aqua Ultrafiltration Systems.
MINING INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS
As a complete system integrator, Pure Aqua has a wide range of solutions for the mining section, specifically:
1. Packaged Drinking Water Plants
2. Effluent polishing to meet discharge requirements (i.e. selenium)
3. Treating industrial process water in general
Pure Aqua has supplied a number of UF drinking (potable) water systems to the mining industry in Latin America. In addition, we have been involved in nitrate and selenium treatment (RO) for mining operations in Canada. If you have water treatment needs at your mining operation, call Pure Aqua today.