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The Vital Role of Water Treatment Solutions for Mines

Despite being responsible for less than five per cent of South Africa’s water consumption, the mining industry is, by its very nature, one of the country’s biggest polluters of this vital resource. Nevertheless, our modern society has become equally dependent on the various minerals available through this strategic industry’s activities. Naturally, we wish to continue enjoying the benefits of those activities. In that case, we will need to ensure H20 treatment for mines is as effective as possible and applied consistently by the nation’s mineral exploitation companies.

The industry has had to become more mechanised to meet the constantly growing demand. However, processing more ore inevitably leads to additional waste. Furthermore, new technologies are now making it more profitable for companies to mine previously uneconomical low-grade ores, which will only increase waste levels. To make matters worse, contaminants from rock and tailings can continue to pollute rivers and aquifers for decades after a mine has closed down – another reason why effective water treatment for mines is crucial.

Those who may wonder why a gold wedding band is so expensive should know that it can require moving almost three metric tons of material to extract a sufficient quantity of the precious metal. Most of that material will contain chemicals that could pose a serious threat to the environment unless suitably treated. Nevertheless, gold is not only valuable for jewellery manufacturers. This yellow metal is also widely used by the electronics industry.

mining water treatment

Mining Activities and Polution

Mineral exploitation results in several types of pollution. While preventative measures are essential, H20 treatment for mines also ensures unavoidable pollutants remain within safe limits. Acid mine drainage is a process that occurs when newly exposed rock makes contact with air and moisture. Sulphides present in the rock combine with water to form sulphuric acid. Also, toxic heavy metals in the exposed rock, such as cadmium and lead, are readily leached out by running water. Mining companies also employ toxic chemicals like cyanide and sulphuric acid to extract the required mineral from the ore. When implementing appropriate water treatment for mines, the industry’s effluents can be kept free of these and all other toxic pollutants.

Miners must often live on-site for prolonged periods and thus require accommodation and ablution facilities. In the remote areas typical of the industry’s operations, safe sewage disposal is an additional problem. Fortunately, an effective solution to this dilemma is also available.

Systems to deal with acid mine drainage, recycle process water, treat sludge streams and sewage, and provide a potable supply are among the range of H20 treatment solutions for mines available from WaterIcon.