Mine Water Treatment Plant

Bernard Aubé

Mine water treatment expert, Envirobay Inc.

Ron Nicholson

Principal, Senior Environmental Scientist
Minimum 12, maximum 100 delegates
Regular 4500 / 4800 ZAR, Students 3100 / 3400 ZAR



The formation of neutral mine drainage or acid rock drainage (ARD) cannot always be prevented economically, particularly in older mine sites. In many cases, the most economical solution is that of treatment. On top of regulations on metals and toxicities, there are often limits on sulphate and total dissolved solids which can also require treatment for operating mine sites.

There are many treatment options available. This course will focus primarily on active treatment technologies, challenges, opportunities, and recent developments. Discussions will focus on treatment system design and performance, as well process and cost optimisation as they relate to existing systems. Treatment sludge stability and management will be discussed. The types of processes taught will include lime neutralisation, the high-density sludge (HDS) process, reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ferric co-precipitation, and barium treatment. Treatment of the following elements will be included: (semi-)metals, sulphate, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, molybdenum, selenium, arsenic and ammonia.

Throughout the course, actual examples of existing systems, challenges, and new designs will be discussed. After this reality-based theoretical section, specific case studies will be presented.

Course Outline

  • Water management
  • Basics of active treatment
  • Active treatment processes
    • Lime treatment processes, LDS, HDS, Pond
    • Sulphate and TDS treatment (focus on membranes)
    • Arsenic, molybdenum, and selenium
    • Pit lake treatment
  • Sludge management
  • Treatment challenges and opportunities
  • Treatment plant design and costing
  • Case histories

Target Audience

This course is geared primarily to mine operators and owners, particularly environmental managers, project leaders, closed site managers, and corporate sustainability leaders. It is also useful for treatment plant supervisors, students, and consultants in the mining industry.

Expected Outcome

Participants will come out of this course with a broad understanding of what is involved in mine water management and treatment system design, including costs. Tangible examples will serve to prevent previous errors in engineering and project management. Strong design studies will show the possibilities and optimised solutions that can be found in the most recent developments in the field of mine water treatment.