Friday, November 20, 2015

Water Recycling Application at Iron Ore Mine

Mining corporations need water - a lot of water - to make bare rock give up its valuable minerals.

Water is used for the extraction of minerals that may be in the form of solids, such as coal, iron, sand, and gravel. The category includes quarrying, and milling (crushing, screening, washing, and flotation of mined materials).

Not only is water used to expose the mineral, it must be carefully managed to prevent the release of contaminated water back into the environment.

There are multiple processes involving the management of water that require piping, valves and automation for water management.

  • The reuse of water used to extract the minerals from the other solids.
  • Managing surface water from rain, snow, and streams.
  • Capturing and recycling water from the mine site.
  • Storing water in evaporation ponds.
At a large Midwest iron ore mining facility, a Kinetrol Distributor was contacted to look at ways to lower the overall consumption of water in the main water treatment plant.

The Distributor designed and provided this characterized butterfly control valve, with a Kinetrol actuator, pneumatic positioner, and cone indicator.  The valve is used to recycle processed water back into the plant for reuse in the extraction process. The valve and actuator experiences a very high cycle rate (400 cycles per day).

Intercepting and diverting surface water
  • Intercepting and diverting surface water (rain and snowmelt runoff, streams, and creeks) from entering the mine site by building upstream dams to reduce the potential for water contamination from exposed ore and waste rock
  • Recycling water used for processing ore in order to reduce the volume of water requiring treatment
  • Capturing drainage water from precipitation at the mine site through the use of liners and pipes and directing the water to tailings dams in order to prevent potentially contaminated water from entering groundwater or flowing off site
  • Allowing the water to evaporate in ponds to reduce the volume of contaminated water; in dry regions, enough water may be evaporated that no water needs to be discharged, resulting in the containment of contaminates at the mine site
  • Installing liners and covers on waste rock and ore piles to reduce the potential for contact with precipitation and contamination of groundwater
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