Tailings are the materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of an ore.
Two common methods of extracting minerals from ore (copper, gold, silver, lithium, etc) are: placer and hard rock mining.
Placer Mining, uses water and gravity to concentrate the valuable minerals,
Hard Rock Mining, pulverizes the rock containing the ore and then relies on chemical reactions to concentrate the sought-after material.
In both cases water is used and the processes yield tailings. These tailings consist of a slurry of fine particles, ranging from the size of a grain of sand to a few micrometres.
The contents of the slurry may contain a variety of toxic chemicals (arsenic is common in gold mining), acids, ammonia, smog forming volatile organic compounds and other contaminants.
One method of storing this 'slurry' is to place the solution in an engineered dam and dyke system, covering the contaminants with water.
The issue with 'water capping' is that any movement disrupts the settling of the slurry and the toxins escape into the surrounding areas, contaminant the air and seep into the surrounding water table.
In combining water capping with Prism Water-to-Water filtration it may be possible to dramatically reduce the concentration of toxins in the tailings ponds, remove a significant percentage and potentially extract the valuable fraction from the slurry that bypassed the mining process.
For more information on this process and its application to your tailings ponds or other mining water needs please contact Prism at Prism@PrismAcquaTech.com.