OSMOFLO has developed an innovative solution to transferring fresh water to minesites, without the burden of manual 24-hour plant surveillance.
The company has been installing water recycling facilities on minesites across Australia for the last 17 years, bringing potable water to remote mining companies and mine camps as well as providing quality water for mining procedures.
OSMOFLO’s operational manager Kim Falster told Australian Mining the water recycling plants are operated remotely from headquarters via a modern-based system developed by and exclusive to OSMOFLO called plant-connect.
“Minesites no longer have to employ full time attendants to monitor the plants,” he said.
“Traditionally, the water recycling plants required 24-hour surveillance.
“Now if there is a problem with the facility, the remote operators will automatically be contacted.
“The operators are able to dial into the plant remotely and understand what is happening and in 95% of cases fix the problem without delay.”
Three of the top five minesites in Australia use water recycling or desalination plants.
“Water management on minesites is extremely important as water is a scarce commodity, but an essential component of the process and the functioning of the camps,” Falster said.
“Any water that is discharged needs to be of an acceptable quality for the environment.
“There are instances where mines have to dispose of water once it has been used in the process, if untreated the water is often not suitable to be released into the environment.
“The water recycling facility improves the quality of water to the point that it can be re-used or disposed of safely.”
Water is essential to the running of minesites and as such mine operators demand a fully functioning, reliable water recycling facility that is fit for purpose.
“If a plant is going to operate for a number of years mine operators need a plant that is going to last,” Falster said.
“They need to take into account the whole of life cost.
“A preventative maintenance program is essential in this current climate.
“We currently monitor over 160 plants using plant-connect.”
The remote control maintenance program is being implemented across Australia.
In Western Australia, the first HERO (high efficiency reverse osmosis) plant is in use. The area is known for its highly concentrated silica water resources making it the perfect candidate for the new technology.
“Other water recycling plants will only achieve a recovery of 60 to 70 L from every 100 L,” Falster said.
“The HERO technology provides 95% recovery. This saving is particularly useful where water supply is limited.
“This also dramatically reduces the volume of discharged waste, which is extremely beneficial to the environment and is logistically easier to manage.”
OSMOFLO desalination plants use a process called reverse osmosis.
Throughout the membrane process, a molecular filter removes 95 to 99% of dissolved salts and inorganic molecules, as well as organic molecules with a molecular weight greater than 100.
The reverse osmosis membrane also removes more than 98% of residual biological and colloidal matter from the feed water, leaving the base particles of water behind.