Open-File Report 2012–1089
This report provides a perspective on the amount of water used by a conventional copper flotation plant…. Water is required for many activities at a mine-mill site, including ore production and beneficiation, dust and fire suppression, drinking and sanitation, and minesite reclamation. The water required to operate a flotation plant may outweigh all of the other uses of water at a mine site, [however,] and the need to maintain a water balance is critical for the plant to operate efficiently. Process water may be irretrievably lost or not immediately available for reuse in the beneficiation plant because it has been used in the production of backfill slurry from tailings to provide underground mine support; because it has been entrapped in the tailings stored in the TSF, evaporated from the TSF, or leaked from pipes and (or) the TSF; and because it has been retained as moisture in the concentrate. Water retained in the interstices of the tailings and the evaporation of water from the surface of the TSF are the two most significant contributors to water loss at a conventional flotation circuit facility.
Posted May 3, 2012
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Bleiwas, D.I., 2012, Estimated water requirements for the conventional flotation of copper ores: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1089, 13 p., available only at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1089/.
General Description of Ore Processing in a Conventional Copper Flotation Plant
Estimated Requirements for Process Water
Makeup Water Requirement for Conventional Copper Flotation
The Tailings Storage Facility
Entrainment of Water in the Tailings Storage Facility
Evaporation of Water From the Tailings Storage Facility
Seepage From the Tailings Storage Facility
Water Contained in the Final Copper Concentrate
Model of a Water Balance for a Conventional Flotation Copper Circuit Facility