Cutting water treatment costs


A new energy efficient mine water treatment plant has been developed in Cornwall, promising a 50% reduction in electricity costs of treating mine water.

NeutraSeal pilot plant at Mount Wellington
NeutraSeal pilot plant at Mount Wellington

The plant has been built and tested at an abandoned tin mine in Cornwall by the Camborne School of Mines and Minus Engineering.

Water in mines is carefully managed to prevent the release of contaminated water into the environment.

NeutraSeal – the groundbreaking technology used in the new plant – can handle high volumes of water and remove a wide range of contaminants, including manganese and sulphate, which have the potential to contaminate drinking water supplies.

Dr Ben Williamson from Camborne School of Mines said: “Not only does this new water treatment technique offer lower operational costs because of reduced electricity use; it also offers lower initial capital costs.

“These cost savings, along with the opportunity to generate additional revenue from recovered metals, are sure to be of interest to the mining industry and we are now investigating routes for commercialisation.”

Dr Williamson and Terrie Sawyer, from Camborne School of Mines, worked with Minus Engineering to pioneer and test the plant at Mount Wellington Mine.

The project was funded by UK innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board.