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Innovative Application of Water Quality and Flow Modeling to Design a Softening, UF/RO and Brine Handling System for Copper and Gold Mining Wastewater Treatment in the Peruvian Andes

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A systematic approach was utilized to design a water treatment plant to treat tailings water at a copper mine in northern PerĂº. Water to support the mine operation was stored in a tailings pond, which needed to maintain a maximum level to ensure dam stability and avoid overflows of untreated water. The latter are likely to occur during times of excessive precipitation and need to be avoided at all cost, as they may threaten a nearby river used by the surrounding communities for drinking water supply. A GoldSim water balance model provided an estimate of the required design flow to build a plant that would avoid these issues, and process modeling facilitated definition of the treatment requirements to meet the stringent discharge regulations, especially for sulfate, calcium and nitrite. A robust and reliable treatment system including RO membranes was subsequently designed around the model results and incorporated sufficient flexibility to meet compliance of the upcoming regulations even under extreme water quality conditions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2014

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