Water is widely used for the extraction and on-site processing of naturally occurring minerals, including ores, coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Where fresh water is limiting, or where large volumes are needed, companies may resort to recycling water. Any mineral-laden water will generally cause scaling on pipes, fittings, and machinery that it contacts, and this scale can pose a significant cost to business. Mineral scale is deposited naturally in many and varied compositions, while dissolving of scale is usually done by addition of chemicals.
In a wider sense, the diversity of agents used to process minerals includes flocculants, and clarifiers, antiscalants/dispersants, promoters, crystal growth modifiers, defoamers/antifoams, filter aids and dewatering aids, bonding agents, thickeners, coagulants, emulsion breakers, defrackers, frothers, and solvent extraction reagents.
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