Leach Mining & the Importance of Quality Filtration Systems

Joey MezistranoMining Solutions

leach mining filters

Heap leach mining operations offer a high return on investment compared to traditional mining methods. But a poorly designed and managed leach mining system can seriously cut into the final yields of the operation. With this in mind it is extremely important for leach mining project designers to invest in quality filtration systems.

Filtration: Part 1 – Filters

We have seen over and over heap leach operations procuring top performing dripline and components to resist plugging for longer periods of operation, however when it comes time to purchase a filtration system more often than not this very important component is left out of the purchase requisition. Perhaps, mining operations feel that they can do away without the filtration system despite supplier’s recommendations. But, make no mistake a filtration system is an integral part of any leach mining irrigation system.

The filtration system is responsible for removing all suspended particles that may get into the system from groundwater, surface pond water, and contaminants picked up from continual closed-loop solution percolation cycle through the heaps. The filtration system is designed to remove all particles of a predetermined size (i.e. Mesh 60 / 250 Microns – 0.250mm), this is done to make sure that such particles of this size and greater do not enter the drippers and other sensitive components of the irrigation system and cause blockage of the passageways and prolonging the life of your system.

DRTS is able to offer a range of filtration systems for your leach mining project, from a basic semi-automatic self-cleaning screen filter to a complex fully-automatic filtration station. Such filtration systems can be installed in a dedicated facility (such as a pump station) or the smaller semi-automatic filters right on the leach pads not requiring a source of electricity. Often times the smaller units with a self-cleaning mechanism prove to be the most efficient and financially beneficial solutions, please inquire for more information and recommendation for your operation.

Filtration: Part 2 – Minoro Dripper Filtration Screens

At DRTS we recommend a filter screen Mesh 60 or 250 Microns, this screen size has been determined to be a balance between efficient removal of fine suspended particles and longer periods of operation between filter screen cleaning cycles. We have determined that any suspended particles less than above mentioned sizes (smaller than Mesh 60/250 Microns), that enter our drip irrigation system – specifically the Minoro dripper, will easily pass through the internal components of the dripper without causing blockage to the turbulent flowpath or the drip outlets. This is guaranteed due to the dimensions of the flowpath and drop outlets.

In addition to a stand-alone filtration system up-stream in the irrigation system network, our dripline also incorporates a secondary line of defense to keep out suspended particles greater than above mentioned sizes – the dripper filtration screens act as a miniature screen filter.

DRTS Clog Resistant Minoro Dripper

The Minoro drippers filter screens incorporate a very advanced filtration solution, they are mounted in a raised position from the internal wall of the dripper and thus draw solution into the flow-path labyrinth from a region of the drip tube where the flow of solution is faster flowing than from the internal walls such as other drippers from other manufacturers.

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The Two Main Benefits of installing Filtration Screens:

The solution flows fastest through the drip-tube at the center of pipe, by drawing solution closer to the center the Minoro dripper is less likely to draw suspended solids as suspended solids cause frictional resistance to flow and segregate closer to the internal wall of the drip-tube. The elevated filter screen area will thus not draw the bulk of the suspended solids into the flowpath of the dripper.

Most leach mining operations will incorporate an “off-cycle” when leaching the heaps, this requires the driplines to be turned off. This means that during the steady flow suspended solids are flowing through the dripline fully suspended, but once the “off-cycle” begins and solution stops flowing through the dripline the suspended solids not fall to the bottom of the dripline and settling in a what can be described as a “layer of particles ».

Other manufacturer’s drippers that do not incorporate an elevated filter screen area will experience blockage of the filter screen opening by this “layer of particles », so that when the irrigation cycle resumes the majority of the filtration screen openings will be clogged and render the drippers less efficient if not completely plugged. Minoro dripper’s elevated filter screens combat this problem and are less susceptible to plugging when the dripper is installed with the filtration screens in the down position – something that can’t be controlled during dripline installation on the heaps.

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DRTS Leach Mining Project Solutions

Contact us for a free consultation on how we can help you increase yields and design your next leach mining project with quality clog resistant drippers and mining accessories.

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