Top 6 WW Treatment Problems Facing the Metals and Mining Industry

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July 24, 2020

3 minute read

Water is important to all kinds of mining. However, substantial rainfall at certain sites can result in acid contamination from toxic rivers and streams, mine waste, surface mines, and tailings dumps. Additionally, the extraction and processing of ores in drier areas require huge quantities of the already limited water supply. 

Owing to the above reasons, companies in the metals and mining industry have a responsibility to minimize their environmental impacts through cost-effective processes and technologies for water and wastewater treatment. However, to deal with the problem effectively, you need to know the biggest wastewater treatment problems in the metals and mining industry. Here are 6 of them to get you started.   

1. Tackling Water Pollution for Reuse

Wastewater from extraction activities needs to be carefully monitored to avoid any water or soil contamination resulting from the seepage of alkaline or acid heavy metal. Treatment of these waste streams can be made easy by having the right treatment system or technology in place that helps tackle water pollution for reuse. 

An example of this would be an intelligent wastewater system that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) into the plants for wastewater treatment. This system will make polluted water available for reuse by enhancing phosphorus control through the optimization of the setpoints of influent-driven chemical dosing. Additionally, it will allow you to detect scaling/fouling in real-time to increase the efficiency of your process for treating wastewater.  

2. Water Management for Sustainable Mining

The nature of the natural settings, influent shock, and wastewater treatment technologies contribute to confusion and variability in the treatment system. Such uncertainties contribute to variations in the quality and operational costs of effluent water, as well as, the ecological risk of the recipient waters. 

Artificial intelligence can be an effective method to mitigate these uncertainties and risks associated with the handling of wastewater. AI helps to achieve sustainable mining operations by optimizing chemical dosing in wastewater processes and enabling energy-efficient water management in mining to reduce your OPEX and environmental impact.  

3. Dealing with Data

Efficiency is about optimizing production for every unit of time, quality, and cost. One of the best ways to do this is by controlling the assets at mining sites that consume the most energy. This can be done with access to the right data at the right time.  

By providing the ability to access and share data about your mining operations in real-time, AI allows mines to reach new levels of efficiency and accuracy.  By sharing your data in real-time for constantly changing conditions, you can improve communication between everyone to allow them to adapt SOPs to changing conditions.  

4. The Rise of Digital Energy Efficiency 

Continuing from the previous point, large water assets such as pumps, aerators, and blowers at mining sites are known to consume a lot of energy. Therefore, appropriate water management in mining is needed to reduce OPEX at your mining site. 

An AI system at your mining site can help you do this by monitoring the water assets remotely for energy consumption. Not only will the AI system allow you to monitor your water assets remotely, but it will also optimize their use to reduce energy consumption and ensure cost savings. 

5. Meeting Tightening Effluent Compliance Limits

One of the biggest problems facing the metals and mining industry today is meeting tightening effluent compliance limits. It is important to ensure that operational and regulatory compliance limits are met in water and wastewater treatment at mining sites 

For enhanced coagulation/flocculation, AI utilizes sophisticated multi-layer predictive chemical dosing control. This optimizes chemical dosage setpoints to reduce operational expenditure (OPEX) while ensuring compliance in the water/wastewater treatment processes.  

6. Building the Treatment Process for Water Reuse

The sixth and final problem facing the metals and mining industry is the need for building the treatment process for water reuse. 

Mining sites are often situated in locations where water is already limited and where local people and officials, unsurprisingly, try to stop mines using water from these sources. The good news is that we have AI-enabled mining treatment technologies that allow operators to optimize process water treatment to minimize water intake, tailing storage, and effluent discharge volumes. 

At Innovyze, we make water management in mining a breeze through AI-enabled technologies that not only facilitate water conservation in mining but also enhance mining water management performance to ensure sustainable mining operations. Get in touch with us today to know more about how we can help you

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Tags: Water management in mining, water management in mining