The earth is a closed ecosystem and has a finite water resource. All generations to come, including flora and fauna, have only this resource, which nature has been recycling for millennia. With the increase in human population, the relentless pace of industrialization around the world, and climate change, the availability of water and its reuse has become an important global issue.
The industrial sector is at the forefront of this issue for obvious reasons. In fact it is mainly industries that require large amounts of water for their production systems and often, due to the processing they do, can pollute it and make it unusable. This is where industry and good practices to safeguard this precious resource become crucial.
Wastewater reuse is a sustainable and economical practice, it is beneficial for both small and large industries, and reused wastewater can be used in the production cycle or returned to nature without any kind of contraindication as long as it has been properly purified of contaminants and pollutants.
Mining and metals
Wastewater from metal mines and mineral recovery plants is inevitably contaminated by minerals in native rock formations. After crushing and extraction of valuable materials, unwanted materials can enter the wastewater stream. For metal mines, this can include heavy metals such as zinc and other toxic materials such as arsenic. Mining of high-value metals, such as gold and silver, can generate slimes containing very fine particles in which physical removal of contaminants becomes particularly difficult.
In addition, geological formations that host valuable metals such as copper and gold are often composed of sulfide-type ores. Processing involves grinding the rock into fine particles and then extracting the desired metals, while the residual rock is known as tailings. These tailings contain a combination of not only unwanted metals, but also sulfide components that eventually form sulfuric acid as a result of the exposure to air and water that inevitably occurs when tailings are disposed of in large deposits. The resulting acid mine drainage, often rich in heavy metals (because acids dissolve metals), is one of the many environmental impacts of mining.
Solids removal, recovery & reduction
Most solids can be removed by simple sedimentation techniques, and solids are recovered as slurry or sludge. Very fine solids and those with densities close to that of water pose special problems. Filtration or ultrafiltration may be necessary in these cases. Flocculation, using alum salts or the addition of polyelectrolytes, may also be used. The type of industry and specific operating practices determine the types of wastewaters generated and the type of treatment needed. The reduction of solids, such as waste products, organic materials and sand, is often a goal of industrial wastewater treatment.
Filtration of wastewaters and mud is a challenging sector where many players are involved worldwide. In the last few years, a few of them have increased their production and presence in the market thanks to new environmental rules for wastewater treatment.
Italian design for the international market
Matec has always been a leader in Italy for the production of filter presses and wastewater treatment systems, but in recent years, thanks to an incredible international momentum, it has begun to increase its presence in the global market by going side by side with established companies in the sector.
It wasn’t easy to carve out a space in such a competitive market but thanks to the combined skills, expertise, inventivness and a pinch of genius, Matec has succeeded in this arduous undertaking; inventing in such a specific sector is not an easy thing and not for everyone but Matec’s technicians and engineers have always been a rich source of ideas and solutions capable of moving the bar of excellence higher and higher.
The Twin Frecciarossa filter press
After solutions that have won the hearts of customers over the years such as “the cube”, a practical and contained water treatment plant, or the Marboline, a complete skid-mounted plant perfect for applications in the stone industry, 2022 was the year of a major new development that will certainly bring the group new orders and interesting new challenges: the Twin Frecciarossa filter press.
Twin Frecciarossa is a huge machine capable of doing the work of two filter presses at the same time; in fact, it is a system designed to combine two separate machines in one body in order to double the amount of material treated and increase the loading and unloading speed of each cycle.
The Twin system, as the word itself says, allows increased productivity and performance in a way never seen before with the advantage of having a plant always working even in the case of maintenance; it is in fact possible to stop one of the two machine bodies to intervene in case of failure or normal maintenance while keeping the other body actively and productively, thus eliminating any production downtime.
The addition of two protective casings covering the hydraulic power units and pistons makes this machine an example of 100% Italian design and taste in addition to providing additional protection of these delicate parts, giving them a longevity never seen before.
Twin Frecciarossa was previewed at the BAUMA 2022 trade show held in Munich in October; customers and visitors were able to experience first-hand the quality of this flagship of Matec production.
The new system is already in production and will soon be installed in the world’s mining and aggregates plants.
About the author
This article is a sponsored article from Matec Industries.