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challenges

Water is an important resource in the mining industry. Often, mines are faced with one or more of three critical challenges:
  • Treatment of wastewater in areas with excess water
  • Supply of process and potable water in areas with a scarcity of water
  • Treatment of the wastewater resulting from mining processes, specifically to prevent or reduce Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)

All mining activities use water in production processes. In some regions, mines operate in semi-arid and even desert conditions, with no direct access to water supplies.
In many areas in Latin America and Southern Africa, the only available water source is sea water, often many miles away. This requires transport and desalination of seawater for mining processes. Coal and metal mining activities produce contaminated water high in sulphates and metals. This water is referred to as acid mine drainage. Increasingly restrictive legislation for usage and reclamation standards for wastewater means that mines are responsible for treating and reusing or disposing of this contaminated water properly.

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applications

In many occasions mines operate with no direct access to water supplies. Transport and desalination of seawater is desperately needed for these mining processes. The X-Flow membranes can help the mining industry in the following ways:

treatment solutions

Metals recovery
X-Flow is currently involved in the development of UF technology for the recovery of mined resources from waste streams. Trials are currently underway for recovery of gold, copper and uranium.

Water treatment
X-Flow ultrafiltration (UF) membranes are the preferred technology for pretreatment to seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). X-Flow Seaguard and Seaflex membranes provide superior reverse osmosis (RO) feed water, resulting in fewer RO cleans, extended RO membrane life and lower total cost of ownership.
Wastewater treatment
X-Flow membranes are also valuable tools in the treatment of mining wastewater, including the treatment of tailings and acid mine drainage. The X-Flow Aquaflex module is the most widely used UF membrane in acid mine drainage treatment.

These capillary UF membranes serve as pretreatment to reverse osmosis (RO) systems on AMD plants producing water for industrial and domestic reuse from AMD.

Featured case

Witbank slider image

Emalalheni (Witbank) South Africa

Acid mine drainage