Mining towns are located far from pre-existing towns and far from long established cities that have established water provision and high-quality water. The challenge is to provide suitable water for the miners who are resident in the new town. When the solution is using groundwater, companies face high costs in replacing pipework and infrastructure if scaling occurs. Many companies install Hydrosmart before the town is occupied, to act as a scale preventative for the life of the town. Others companies see the need for descaling after changing to a lower quality water source, and then install Hydrosmart as a fix.
Australia’s three biggest mining companies use Hydrosmart for scale prevention and infrastructure management in mining towns. Each campsite or mining town houses 50-2000 people seasonally, depending on workload and mining operations. Mining camps treated have used either a single feed of large diameter, or have adopted single units on each house in the camp. Camps treated include those at Newman, Port Headland, West Angleas, Mt Isa, and New Guinea.
In the mining field, Hydrosmart units have dealt successfully with problems of calcium carbonate, gypsum, and mixed mineral buildups. Units that are deployed range up to 300mm diameter, and these are all operating today. Clients range from publicly listed multinationals to family-owned outfits, and testimonials are available on this website. High-volume Hydromaster installations include those operating at Mt Isa, Lightning Ridge, Moranbah, Twin Hills, Blackwater, North Capel, and New Guinea.
In a typical instance, chemicals were being used for dewatering at a gold mine that handles 2Ml of water in the system per day. The 110mm pipe, which carried a load of 29,000ppm minerals, was scaled to a thickness of 15mm. Chemicals weren’t doing the job and scaling was getting worse. The supervisor reported that ‘installation of a Hydrosmart not only prevented any additional build-up of scale, but actually removed the existing 15mm of scale such that the pipe is now back to a bare black poly pipe’.
Water is also used for on-site processing of minerals. An example is a commercial heap-leach mining operation where crushed heaps are irrigated with a cyanide solution to leach silver into solution. The process recycles bore water in the silver leaching circuit and consumes anti-scaling chemicals. It has been found that use of anti-scaling chemicals can be reduced or eliminated by installing Hydrosmart to treat the process water for irrigation of the heaps. In practice, this has stopped calcium gypsum build-up from forming in the pipes and sprinkler heads during the recovery process, and was monitored with a scale coupon.