By Reyes Parga Soler (Sandfire MATSA)
The operation and commissioning of the European Project Remine Water, a LIFE project being carried out at the Aguas Teñidas mine, one of Sandfire MATSA’s three mining operations in the province of Huelva (Spain), started in July 2022, after 3 years of preparation, design, and construction.
This project, designed to be the first platform for technological experimentation in water treatment in the mining sector, has as its main objective the search for new solutions to minimize discharges, increase water recirculation and recover by-products from water in the mining sector.
During these first months of work, a treatment line has been set up with carbon dioxide softening systems and membrane systems with nanofiltration and reverse osmosis equipment, obtaining optimum treatment results for the water produced.
This allows us to significantly reduce the salinity of the water, for instance, and to be able to recirculate more water into the system, reducing scaling problems in the operation’s piping and minimizing discharge.
After these first months and the tests carried out by modifying different operating parameters of the equipment, it has been possible to obtain water of the highest quality. The main parameters are presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Results
On the other hand, Figure 1 shows the reduction percentages of each parameter in the three stages necessary for the commissioning.
Figure 1. Reduction percentage of each parameter
The significant reduction of sulphates and calcium in the nanofiltration stage (98% and 96%, respectively), which already provides excellent water quality for both discharge and internal recirculation in the system, is also noteworthy.
These magnificent results must be validated over time to study the technical and economic feasibility of this pilot plant on an industrial scale, to analyse its possible implementation in Sandfire MATSA’s current water treatment and to be able to replicate and transfer the solution to other mining industries and metallurgical companies.
Sandfire MATSA is committed to investment and innovation in projects of this type, which allows us to achieve continuous improvement in the management of water resources by reducing our Water and Environmental Footprint.