Water treatment firm SurfCleaner supplies world-leading iron ore mine

Energize Editors

Energize Editors

SurfCleaner has supplied specialist water treatment technology to one of the largest underground iron ore mines in the world.

The colossal mineral deposit was formed following intense volcanic activity resulting in an ‘ore body’ roughly 4km-long and 2km deep. SurfCleaner’s Swedish Sales Manager Niklas Gedal said two SCO 1000 devices have now been deployed at the site – within the mine’s water treatment facility – helping drive greater operational efficiency and environmental standards while slashing back on maintenance and management costs.

A champion of innovation and sustainability, the mine has invested heavily in electric, remote-controlled drilling and ore handling equipment to support the complex mining process. This equipment is free from exhaust emissions, produces less heat, fewer vibrations and lower noise levels, while dramatically reducing the mine’s energy costs compared to diesel-powered units.

“Electric machines are used extensively in mining, and they require consistent cleaning due to a build-up of grease and hydraulic oil,” he said. “The client we have recently supplied performs this task in a washing hall deep underground, where used water is transported through pipes to an API separator in the mine’s water treatment plant. One of SurfCleaner’s SCO 1000 devices is located in the API separator to help manage the first stage of the water treatment process. Here, it collects, separates and empties oil and grease into an IBC tank around the clock. Another SCO 1000 device is used in a second API separator, further along the process, collecting thin layers of remaining oil. The separated oil is pumped into a container and later collected by an oil recycling company, while the purified water can be reused as process or wash water. The ability to reuse both oil and water is a major win-win for the circular economy.”

SurfCleaner’s technology has essentially replaced the former oil filtration system and eliminated an entire stage of the water treatment process between the API separators. By comparison the oil filter solution was expensive, cumbersome and hard to maintain. The first SCO 1000 device is currently separating around 1 cubic meter of oil per week, while the second device is deployed when required removing any remaining oil from the API separator within a single day. As such, the mine operator is able to avoid the 800km round trip with vacuum trucks to transport oil-damaged water to third-party treatment facilities.

“We are delighted to be actively demonstrating the benefits of SurfCleaner’s devices to the global mining sector,” added Mr Gedal. “This has been a fascinating project which has led to modifications to our own technology, specifically geared towards use in underground mining environments, which experience high volumes of abrasive media like sand and gravel. This includes the development of protective screens which collect and reduce inflow of unwanted debris. We are currently delivering several more demonstration projects and having identified major growth potential we hope to support many more mining operators by delivering immediate cost saving, operational and environmental benefits.”

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