Thankfully, all mine waters and effluents are treatable with the wide range of water treatment technologies available today. However selecting the correct combination of technologies – and using them in correct sequence – is critical when designing a water treatment system.
Mistakes in technology selection are common, and can make a water treatment plant inefficient and difficult to operate; often causing the following issues:
Fouling or scaling of equipment
Reduction in treated water quality
Low treated water recoveries
Increased brine volumes
Increased operating costs
Extensive sludge production
Treating contaminated pit water at a copper mine in Queensland. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Lime precipitation is a cornerstone technology of mine water treatment – due to its ability to treat a wide range of contaminants typically associated with acid mine drainage: acidity, sulphate and metals.