Water Requirements: Quantity, Quality and Effect of Recycling

Turcotte, William A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 25
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Introduction The need for water is fundamental to every minerals processing operation. Though this may sound rather elementary, it is one area that cannot be over- looked. Frank C. Quinn in his paper entitled "Water Is Water Is Water" (1967) said, "but it isn't as simple as that. Very often research is slowed down and production is hampered because of a lack of appreciation for the behavior of water." The quantity of water needed for any operation is determined from bench and pilot plant testing. The quality required by the process for both fresh and reuse water is also established during these two testing phases. Quinn's statements are true whether the process involves the paper industry, the minerals industry, or any other industry. It is not the author's intent to cover water quality, quantity, or re- cycle in specific terms, but to provide the reader with a general outline of the topic with reference to several valuable sources of information. The first part of the chapter will cover several of the areas that have been de- tailed by others and also provide a list of reference sources. The references at the end of the chapter are not all inclusive but will provide a good starting point. In the second part of the chapter, a detailed description, with flowsheet illustrations, is pro- vided on the evolution of the reclaim (reuse) water system at the Tilden concentrator. Mineral Industry Water Needs Beresford and Edler (1978) surmnarized the minerals industry's need for water this way: "minerals are necessary to a modern complex technological society. The minerals industry, while its water needs are relatively minor compared to large users such as agriculture, nevertheless requires a large quantity of water to carry out daily operations from mining to final product refining." In 1973 total water use in the United States was estimated at 15.14 billion cubic meters (4 trillion gallons) for the minerals industry. Of this, about 69% was recirculated within the system. In 1982 Watt and Horton stated that the percent of recycled water in the minerals industry had improved to 73%, showing the minerals industry is an efficient user of water and that steady improvement in water recycling is something the minerals industry can look to with pride. The percent of water needed by the United States' minerals industry was estimated in 1962 to be about 2% of the total water required by industry
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