Mining and resource companies face some of the toughest water challenges. The scale of operation and typical remoteness of facilities, present challenges that are unique to this sector.
Improving the effectiveness of water management and reducing operation and maintenance costs of treatment is usually a very high priority because the volume of water managed on mine sites can be orders of magnitude greater than what many other industries face. Consequently, even very small improvements can therefore translate to millions of dollar savings over the life of a mining operation.
Process treatment wetlands are a demonstrated technology that can offer many advantages to the mining/resource sector to manage their water challenges. Benefits include:
- Lower whole-of-life costs;
- Less operational complexity; robust operation;
- Lower power use;
- Less reliance on mechanical parts;
- Ability to manage variable flows – high wet season flows / low dry season flows, and;
- Demonstrated environmental infrastructure.
The process solution developed for each site is developed on a case by case basis as each site has different characteristics. Some of the areas where ecological engineered solutions can provide significant operational and cost benefits:
- Reductions in heavy metals before environmental discharge;
- Stormwater treatment and management;
- pH neutralisation of mine water;
- Degradation of organics/hydrocarbons;
- Removal of algae from storage ponds;
- Nutrient reduction in wastewater;
- Pre-treatment of water to filtration equipment;
- Sediment removal;
- Remote community sewage treatment;
- Tailings water polishing, and;
- Disposal e.g. land irrigation schemes.