Water in Mining

A number of Mining processes are highly dependent of the use of various gases. In wastewater, tailing ponds or recycling water form acid mine drainage often require simple aeration to maintain proper dissolved oxygen (DO) to allow Mines to reuse water or meet discharge requirements.

In separation processes, such as froth flotation or heap leaching. Mines rely on air or oxygen to float matter or enable the chemical separation of metals such as copper or gold from ore. Regardless of the application, ClaasECO-Water UFB-nanobubble generator brings a new form of gas-to-liquid injection to the mining industry that is more efficient than previous methods. Learn how ClaasECO-Water UFB-nanobubble technology is maximizing efficiency in heap leaching and froth flotation.

Heap Leaching

Heap leaching is an industrial mining process used to extract precious metals, copper, uranium, and other compounds from ore via a series of chemical reactions that absorb specific minerals and then re-separate them after their division from other earth materials. Oxygen plays a critical role in enabling these reactions; however, efficiently delivering oxygen into the leaching process is challenging. ClaasECO-Water UFB-proprietary gas-injection technology overcomes this challenge by plugging directly into the leaching irrigation system. In many cases, the generators can be added without the need for an additional pump. This simple plug-and-play solution combined with the ability of ClaasECO-Water UFB-Ultra Fine Bubbles to significantly increase and maintain elevated dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in leaching solutions provides miners with the opportunity to increase metal recovery or lower their leaching costs.

Increases Dissolved Oxygen
A key aspect to the heap-leaching process is oxidation, or the reaction of the ore with oxygen to dissolve and extract metals or minerals. The more oxygen present in this process, the more efficient it is. ClaasECOWater UFB-system increases DO well beyond what is achieved with traditional methods because of the unique properties of Ultra Fine Bubbles. Ultra Fine Bubbles don’t float and remain suspended in solution until they dissolve. With an oxygen-transfer efficiency of over 90%, ClaasECO-Water UFB-system can rapidly elevate, fine-tune, and maintain specific DO levels, even up to full saturation.

Plug & Play
Many mining facilities are large and intricate operations with significant capital costs. Shutting down a facility to integrate a new technology is simply
not feasible, which can lead to a reluctance to adopt new technologies. ClaasECO-Water UFB-nanobubble generator is easy to integrate by simply plugging into a pipe before the leaching process, reducing the impact to the operation and rapidly providing a significant economic benefit to the heap-leaching process.

Efficient Extraction
Mining operations are typically large-scale, with heap-leaching drip systems that can be hundreds of feet long. With operations of this size, delivering high levels of DO at the end of the drip line can be challenging. Ultra Fine Bubbles do not float to the surface and pop, instead remaining in solution for months on end. Due to this longevity in water, Ultra Fine Bubbles can easily survive to the end of the drip line, ensuring maximum extraction efficiency throughout the entire heap.

Froth Flotation

The froth flotation process separates solid particles based on the differences in physical and surface chemistry properties. It is the most efficient and cost-effective method for treating particles within a narrow size range, nominally from 10 to 100 μm. However, froth flotation of fine and ultrafine mineral particles poses a major technical challenge in the field of mineral processing due to the low bubble-particle collision efficiencies of conventionally sized bubbles. Several flotation technologies have been developed that aim to increase the bubbleparticle collision efficiency, either by decreasing the bubble size or by increasing the apparent particle size. A side-by-side comparison of conventional-sized bubbles and Ultra Fine Bubbles showed that Ultra Fine Bubbles on the surface of particles facilitated the attachment of conventional-sized bubbles and subsequently increased the flotation rate of particles.

Better Collision
The negative surface charge of Ultra Fine Bubbles limits bubble coalescence, ensuring they stay separated in solution. The bubbles charge, in combination with the high concentration of Ultra Fine Bubbles delivered to the mineral solution by the ClaasECO-Water UFB equipment generator, increases the probability of collision with suspended ores and metals and improves floatation rates.

Rise Rate Flexibility
The gas-injection rate through ClaasECO-Water UFBnanobubble generator is tuneable, enabling operators to manipulate the size of bubbles produced and adjust rise rates accordingly to meet the needs of the water being treated. As bubble size decreases so does its buoyancy and subsequently its rise rate. A lower rise rate is advantageous for froth flotation of coarse particles and hard-to-float suspensions that require relatively long slide times. Meanwhile, a more rapid rise rate may be acceptable for larger, more buoyant particle removal.

Simple to Retrofit
ClaasECO-Water UFB-nanobubble generators are easy to integrate into existing flotation systems. Customers can utilize the generator to replace existing gas flotation methods or in combination with them. In either case, customers can expect to experience an improvement in metals recovery without increasing operating costs.