Siltbuster Process Solutions (SPS) is taking part in trials to show the treatability of the mine water from the historical closed tin mine at South Crofty in Cornwall. Once completed, the results will be used to show the viability of dewatering and of reopening the mine.
Siltbuster South CroftySPS has been asked to treat the mine water, which includes dissolved contaminates and metals in solution such as iron, by reducing the metal content to allow safe discharge of the water to the nearby Red River. If successful, the trial will be an important next step in the reopening of the mine, for Strongbow Exploration, which acquired it in July 2016.
SPS has completed many mine water treatment plants, designs and feasibility studies both in the UK and worldwide. These include Wheal Jane, Cornwall, UK, said to be one of the largest active mine water treatment projects in the world, which over the last 14 years has involved treating over 100 million cubic metres of water.
SPS also designed the Dawdon mine water treatment plant for the UK Coal Authority, which won the 2010 Edie Award for the best water treatment plant in the UK. Earlier this year it finished a turnkey contract to design, construct and commission a water treatment system for Wolf Minerals’ new tungsten mine at the Drakelands Mine, near Plymouth in Devon, the 4th largest tungsten deposit in the world.
Chris Bullen, Technical Manager for Siltbuster Process Solutions said: “It is great to have been chosen to work on such an important and high profile project. We have a long history not only of working with mines but also in this region. We understand the local geology and have consulted heavily with the Strongbow team on the best way to dewater the mine. This initial trial phase is very important; it will not only show that the required environmental standards can be met, but will also demonstrate the viability of the whole mine.”
At South Crofty the trial will see SPS’s High Density Sludge process treat 18 cubic metres per hour of mine water over the next two or three months. This will not only provide performance data to support Strongbow’s discharge consent permit application but will also be used in the design of the full-scale plant; if the trial is successful the company would like to scale things up, to treat and discharge up to 25,000 cubic metres of mine water per day. This will enable the mine to be dewatered over an 18-24 month period ahead of reopening.
The South Crofty tin project area covers 1,490 hectares, and includes 26 former producing mines. Production records for the site date back to 1592 with full scale mining activities commencing in the middle of the 17th Century. The mine closed when the price of tin collapsed in 1985.
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