Kennecott Eagle Minerals awarded Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies a contract for the wastewater treatment plant at its Eagle mine located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It will be the only primary nickel mine operating in the United States and is expected to produce approximately 300 million lb of nickel and 250 million lb of copper over the life of the mine.
Striving to protect the surrounding environment including groundwater, streams, rivers and lakes, Kennecott Eagle Minerals has teamed up with Veolia to treat the mine water to meet and exceed water quality standards set by its mining permits. Veolia’s treatment solutions include the patented OPUS high recovery membrane process and Liquid Evaporation and Distillation (LED) evaporators and crystallizers for brine management to achieve Zero Liquid Waste Discharge at the mine site.
The wastewater treatment process includes precipitation softening and clarification, filtration, ion exchange softening and a final two pass reverse osmosis (RO) polishing system. The discharge streams from this patented wastewater treatment process include treated effluent water, metals precipitation sludge, ion exchange regenerant and RO concentrate. The treated effluent water will be suitable for reuse in the mining process or to release back into the groundwater by a treated water infiltration system. The ion exchange regenerant and RO concentrate liquid wastes will then be sent to the evaporator and crystallizer system and converted to solids which will be disposed of off-site as a non-hazardous solid waste.
The system is designed to treat 100 to 500 gpm of mine water and will begin operations late in 2011. Veolia will start-up and commission the facility.