Rental desalination plant aids development of new mineral sands mine

Rental desalination plant aids development of new mineral sands mine

The Snapper mine site uses new wet plant technology for on-site processing

  • Client

    Bemax Resources Limited

  • Technology

    Multimedia pre-filtration, reverse osmosis

  • Location

    Via Broken Hill, New South Wales


  • Commissioned

    Dec 2010

  • Project Scale


Challenge Bemax Resources is currently developing a new high grade mineral sands deposit 10km from its existing Ginkgo mine. Bore water, the only source in the locality, has a salinity content of about half that of seawater, making it unsuitable for site requirements without treatment. As Snapper becomes opertational, Ginkgo will be gradually wound down and an Osmoflo desalination plant there provided under a Build Own Operate contract, will be transferred to the new mine. The challenge facing Bemax Resources was how to meet water requirements at Snapper during construction and until the desalination plant at Ginkgo is transferred over, a period estimated to be around 18 months.

Solution Osmoflo recommended that a sewater reverse osmosis plant mounted in a 20' container and readily available from the company's rental fleet be adapted to meet specific conditions at the Snapper site. Feed water with a TDS content of more than18,000 mg/l is pre-treated in a containerised multimedia filtration (MMF)system designed to 'plug and play'. MMF vessels are backwashed individually, a feature that enables the SWRO plant to run continuously. The treated water, which contains less than 500 TDS mg/l is suitable for general purpose needs. The client's requirement is 220 kL/day of RO product water, however the plant can be ramped up to 250 kL/day if required. Brine produced in the desalination process is blended back into bore water for industrial use. Monitoring of plant performance is undertaken by Osmoflo technical engineers and timed to coincide with servicing regimes at the Ginkgo plant.

Result The rental solution offers a cost effective option to supply water during the development phase of the mine's life cycle. Close liaison between Bemax and Osmoflo staff ensured the arrival and commissioning was in line with construction requirements.

Bemax is a major miner of mineral sands with rich sand deposits