A large greenfield gold mine in Quebec, Goldcorp's Éléonore project in the James Bay Region, needed a range of water treatment services to remove arsenic and other metals and to minimize the potential of mine flooding. The company's list of requested services included water inventory management, low level metals and arsenic removal for discharge to the environment, sludge management and steps to mitigate the large influx of water during the mining process.
Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies entered into an agreement whereby is the sole-source supplier for the mine's water treatment system for the removal of arsenic and other metals. Veolia started working on the site in 2008, doing temporary water treatment with its mobile Actiflo® high rate clarification technology.
Veolia has demonstrated water treatment expertise at mining installations worldwide, including other Goldcorp gold mines. The company, in fact, has developed two other water treatment facilities with Goldcorp in Canada – the Cochenour mine and the Red Lake mine – as well as the Marlin mine in Guatemala.
Goldcorp is using Veolia's Actiflo technology for low level metals precipitation at its water treatment plant, which is designed to process 25,000 m3 of water per day. Initially, Goldcorp planned to build a small plant, and as the mine developed, expand the volume of water to be treated. However, during construction of the mine shaft, the company found that large fractures in the rock contained substantially more water than its engineers had anticipated. For this reason, Goldcorp decided to build the full scale plant and contract with Veolia as its sole-source water treatment supplier.
A major difference in the Éléonore mine water treatment facility is the segregation of the sludge that is produced. There is a treatment train for metals processing and a separate one for arsenic removal. While such separation is different from traditional treatment processes, Veolia believes such action is necessary because the mining operations require the precipitation of metals at various pH levels.
At present, the Veolia team is completing fabrication of the water treatment equipment, with the first production scheduled for late 2014. After the equipment is installed and the start-up and commissioning is completed for the water plant, Veolia will hand over operations to Goldcorp.
Learn more about Actiflo technology at VeoliaWaterSTNA.com.
CMJ readers can look forward to the Éléonore story appearing in our October 2013 issue.