Sibel Pamukcu | Lehigh University | Priscilla Nelson | Colorado School of Mines
Theme: Avoiding catastrophic failure through water and water pressure control
Title: Sustainable EK/EO for Water Management and Resource Recovery from Tailings
- Lehigh University
- Colorado School of Mines
- University of Minnesota
- Industrial consultancy
Offering to sponsors
The project offers proven technology to rapidly control and manage water in tailings without high CAPEX.
The project uses Electro-Kinetics/Electro-Osmosis (EK/EO) to dewater placed tailings (embankment or impoundment). EK/EO involves the application of direct current through electrodes installed in tailings materials, driving water flow out of the materials. The well-known technique has been successfully applied to dewater high water content dredged materials and slurries and will work best in fine grained materials.
EK/EO can be applied to manage water pressure within large masses. By integrating the electrodes with a sensor network, mine sites will be able to ‘surgically’ target zones in which porewater pressures are indicated to be increasing, rapidly reducing pressures as water is driven to a drainage anode. EK/EO can also be used in conjunction with Electro-Dialysis (ED) and ion exchange membranes to remove and recover metals, REEs and other species from seepage and impoundment water.
Benefit to industry:
- By rapidly dewatering slimes, EK/EO technologies will enable industry recover process water efficiently.
- EK/EO, by speeding consolidation of impounded slimes and by targeted reduction in embankment water pressures greatly reduces the potential for catastrophic failure.
- EK/EO can be applied to recover critical and heavy metals which had been dissolved in impoundment and seepage water.
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