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Industrial Water Treatment Systems in the Mining Industry

Mining has long been the mainstay of the South African economy. Johannesburg and secondary industries throughout Gauteng would have never grown to their current size without the rush to exploit the nearby gold-rich reef. Platinum and diamonds have earned billion in hard currency, while extensive coal mining operations have fueled the power stations that provide the energy for mineral exploitation. However, mining is a dirty job, and its waste products can pose a severe threat to the environment. Consequently, efficient industrial water treatment systems are vital to the future of this strategic core industry.

H20 plays a vital role in the mineral processing procedures used to recover metals from the mined and crushed ore. However, during these operations, the liquid can also extract some of the less desirable chemicals contained in the ore. For example, some ores contain sulphites. These can react to form sulphuric acid when exposed to water and oxygen. Heavy metals like cadmium in mine effluents can be highly toxic. Once contaminated, the wastewater cannot be reused or discharged into the surrounding environment without first undergoing suitable industrial water treatment. So, how do these treatments work?

The clean-up is a multi-stage process in which the individual steps may vary according to the contaminants present in the wastewater. Nevertheless, the first requirement is usually to adjust the pH. Raising it to a pH of eight will reduce acidity and precipitate most of the dissolved metal. Coagulants and flocculants can then induce clumping of the finer metal particles making it easier to filter them out. Depending on the level of purity required, additional forms of industrial treatment, such as distillation, centrifugation, ion exchange, reverse osmosis or other forms of membrane filtration, may prove of value.

mining water treatment

In practice, there is no single solution that will meet all needs. It is necessary to review each situation individually before deciding which methodologies will be most appropriate to deal with those contaminants found to be relevant. Furthermore, the nature and extent of the necessary processing will also depend on whether the goal of the prescribed industrial treatment is reuse or safe disposal.

Wherever possible, reusing the wastewater produced by mining operations can lead to substantial cost savings for mineral exploitation companies. This option also helps to conserve a vital natural resource. That the environment is in danger is no longer in doubt. Limiting the impact of mining requires tried and tested technology and top-quality equipment and chemicals to apply it. These are the same features that have helped us to become a local leader in industrial water treatment for mining and other industries.