Water supply for mine remediation

Reducing the risks associated with tailings dams

According to the Queensland government there are 120 complex mine tailings dams in Queensland alone.

Mine operators and governments face the ongoing challenge of managing tailings dams.

This is because they involve two main risks:

1) Health impacts from contaminants in the water.
Tailings dams often contain arsenic and other contaminants that may be harmful to health.

2) Tailings dams can also be structurally unstable and prone to slumps and landslides.
For example, a Brazilian tailings dam recently failed, causing the deaths of more than 240 people when the collapse unleashed a torrent of mud and mining waste onto a small town one kilometre away.

Storing mine tailings and waste water in tailings dams may offer a temporary solution. Yet all too frequently, severe weather events, structural failures, tailings dam leaks, can lead to environmental disasters. 

Syngineering uses advanced VMT – Vibrating Membrane Technology – to process your tailings dam waste water onsite and reduce the risks associated with tailings dams. 

Key considerations around water supply for mine remediation

There are always challenges when processing solid and liquid mine site waste, including: 

  • Technically processing the wastewater
  • Regulatory approval, and 
  • Social license. 

When managing tailings dams, mine operators must consider:

  1. Water analysis (pH, conductivity, temperature, Total Dissolved Solids, Total Suspended Solids)
  2. Potential other uses of clean recycled water
  3. Capacity and the rate of change from the likes of wet seasons and ongoing production
  4. Flexible and modular nature of the VMT systems allowing them to be containerised and moved from one location to the next as required.

How VMT membrane processing can help mine remediation

Vibrating Membrane Technology helps mine owners and operators process waste water in tailings dams onsite, reducing and ultimately eliminating the risk associated with mine tailings dams. 

VMT systems provide a clean recycled water supply that can be used for a range of applications in and around the mine site, including:

  1. Dust suppression using clean recycled water
  2. Process water using clean recycled water
  3. Selling clean recycled water to neighbouring properties 
  4. Using clean water to grow crops close to the mine site
  5. Discharging clean water into nearby streams and waterways

By being proactive and using VMT, mine owners and operators can reduce tailings dam volumes, reduce the risk of environmental disasters, benefit neighbouring properties by selling them clean reliable recycled water, and grow crops for carbon credits and profits.  

To find out more about mine remediation contact Syngineering online or call 1300 662 326.