Nitrates in mining effluent can be a big problem for any site. Even well-maintained waste dumps have the potential to exposure the environment to prolonger periods of nitrate exposure, and this becomes dangerous for sites that operate in sensitive aquatic areas. Fortunately, there are some great strategies for nitrate mitigation available, and as trusted mining engineers, Mincka are here to share them with you!
Engineers talk Nitrates
The biggest source of nitrate waste in mining effluent is from ammonium nitrate explosives. The use of these tools are non-negotiable in many mining situations, they’re needed to accomplish some very important tasks and they’re incredibly effective! The downside is that residual material can easily leach into groundwater. The longer these nitrates sit around in waste dumps and on surfaces, the more likely they are to cause problems.
In addition to concerns for the environment, there are also concerns for the businesses in question; downstream clean-up costs and reduced productivity while crews work to contain nitrate leaching risk pushing projects over budget and beyond deadlines.
Given the use of ammonium nitrate bulk explosives carries with it the risk of nitrate leaching into groundwater, our teams have embarked on a project to better understand the causes and risks and we are proud to have developed a viable solution to enable mines to conduct blast operations without having to compromise on explosive energy which has subsequent downstream cost and productivity.
There are several advanced explosive products on the market that offer unique emulsification technology to provide ideal stability and limit leaching within blast holes, ensuring that post-blast fumes limit environmental exposure and provide better protection for groundwater. The formulations are the cutting edge of nitrate mitigation efforts, and are designed for even the most intensive wet blast hole applications.
What can be done?
The science behind these innovations is a combination of advanced surface chemistry and increased viscosity. When combined with other nitrate-conscious hole loading configurations, the result is an enormous reductions in nitrate leaching! Mincka are the trusted experts in mining engineering and risk management, and we regularly employ these kinds of innovative solutions to complex problems. We like to solve problems before they arise, and with the growing awareness around environmental responsibility in our industry we provide a wide range of consulting services to our clients.