Molybdenum Treatment at Brenda Mines
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 2000
Brenda Mines, located 22 km Northwest of Peachland in British Columbia, Canada was an open pit copper- molybdenum mine which closed in 1990 after 20 years of operation. The primary concern in Brenda's tailings and waste rock drainage is molybdenum at a concentration of approximately 3 mg/L. The mine drainage is alkaline and contains little or none of the typically problematic heavy metals. Given that the waters downstream are used for municipal water supply and some irrigation, a discharge limit of 0.25 ma molybdenum was imposed with specific water quality guidelines in the receiving creek. A review of all existing and potential molybdenum removal methods was undertaken prior to mine closure. The chosen process is a two-step iron co-precipitation with clarification and sand filration at a slightly acidic pH. A 4,000 usgpm (912 m3/h) treatment plant was constructed and commissioned in 1998, at a cost of $10.5M. The successful removal of molybdenum from the drainage water is explained with details on some design innovations and operational challenges encountered during plant start-up. Investigated sludge disposal options are discussed although the long term disposal scenario has not yet been finalised.