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Water in Mining 2006

Conference Proceedings

Water in Mining 2006

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Selecting Suitable Methods for Treating Mining Effluents

During operations, mining and metallurgical processes may generate effluents such as tailings water, acid mine drainage (AMD) and seepage and process acid streams. Depending on the type of ore and the metallurgical process, these effluents may contain one or more toxic compounds (eg acidity or alkalinity, cyanide, ammonia and/or nitrate, heavy metals, total suspended solids (TSS), sulfate) in elevated concentrations requiring treatment before their discharge to the environment or recycle/reuse in the process. Natural oxidation of sulfide minerals present in mining wastes (eg tailings and waste rock) at mining sites may generate AMD, which is characterised as a low pH, high acidity effluent containing heavy metals and sulfate. If generation of AMD cannot be controlled and/or prevented, AMD needs to be collected and treated for neutralisation of acidity and reduction of metals and TSS to meet regulated water quality standards. It is important to note that some of these compounds may persist in run-off from mine sites, even after the mine and processing facilities are decommissioned._x000D_
Treatment of mining and metallurgical process effluents can be accomplished by means of various physical, chemical and/or biological methods. The mode of process application may vary from the use of either specifically designed, controlled and automated facilities or passive systems. Lime neutralisation and precipitation is the most common method used in the mining industry to treat AMD. To reduce the problems associated with disposal and long-term storage of the resulting sludge, the use of a high-density sludge process (HDS) has become a preferred option. The use of other chemical reagents, waste or by-products from other industries, and biological sulfate reduction methods can also be considered as viable options for site-specific situations. Recently, several passive treatment systems have been designed and successfully operated, even in the cold North American climate. This paper will discuss available options and provide insights for selecting a suitable method for a given situation using case studies from projects conducted by Golder Associates around the world over the last decade._x000D_
FORMAL CITATION:Kuyucak, N, 2006. Selecting suitable methods for treating mining effluents, in Proceedings Water in Mining 2006, pp 267-276 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2005
  • PDF Size: 0.534 Mb.
  • Unique ID: P200610036

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