Pilot operations at tailings pond discharges in Canada and Africa show that the Rotating Biological Contactor (RBC) process can be designed to economically and reliably treat wastewater generated by mining operations. As a pioneer in the RBC process in North America, Envirex Products of “Water Technologies,” a division of the Siemens Group Industrial Solutions and Services (I&S), has successfully applied the RBC process in many different industrial applications worldwide such as refineries, chemical plants, and mines, in addition to hundreds of municipal wastewater treatment applications, dating back to 1985.

The Envirex Rotating Biological Contactor system is a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to detoxify hazardous cyanide tailings compounds that result from the leaching process. The RBC is uncomplicated, easy to install and use, with performance proven around the world. Cyanide is biologically removed allowing reuse or disposal of the treating water.

Among the important operating benefits the RBC process has to offer are: consistent results, stable operation – even with fluctuating input – low energy consumption, and minimum maintenance and operator attention.

The successful application of RBCs in a gold mining application for purpose of thiocyanate and cyanide reduction was applied at the Homestake Mine installation (now Barrick) in Lead, SD. This was accomplished by pilot demonstration in 1981, leading to a full scale installation by Envirex in 1984. To date, Envirex – a USFilter company — has provided over 11,000 RBCs and over 7,000 SBCs for a number of applications, many of which have reliably exceeded their twenty-year design life and continue operating today.

Envirex supplied sixteen full size SBC’s for the reduction of Cyanide, Thiocyanate, and Ammonia. The latest project is a gold mine in Ghana/Africa, where Envirex after successful piloting will be supplying RBCs for a mine. The plant will treat influent for cyanide and arsenic reduction and is scheduled to be online late 2006.