For many decorative and recreational ponds, gaining some water during rainy seasons and losing a few inches during a hot summer has relatively little overall effect. In an ore processing pond, changes in total volume can have a surprising impact on the amount and quality of material extracted in the end. Yet maintaining a steady flow requires balancing both the incoming water from rainfall and runoff and the outgoing evaporation loss. Find out how accessories like heap raincoats and pond skimmers play important roles in managing processing ponds for the mining industry.
Surface Area vs Depth
The main feature for manipulating the evaporation rate of any pond is the surface area to depth ratio. The more surface area a pond has, the faster it will lose water to evaporation. This effect is increased greatly in dry, hot, and windy areas. Deeper ponds, with less surface area, evaporate slower. By balancing the environmental effects with the shape and size of the pond, you can reach the ideal evaporation rate to offset incoming water without turning your solution into a sludge.
Covers are often used for at least part of the mining recovery process. By stretching a layer of flexible material similar to the liner over the top of a pond, you can slow or prevent evaporation entirely. Covers also help you protect sensitive wildlife and even keep curious humans away from the surface of the water. However, most mining process ponds produce fumes from the sulfuric acid and other chemical components in the mix. This means that most covers will need active vents to release potentially dangerous gases as they accumulate under the material.
Floating Evaporation Controls
Another option to control evaporation is to add floating materials that block the sun and wind from reaching the water’s surface. Black floating balls are widely used for this purpose in drinking water reservoirs, but there are other options for processing solutions. Some dyes and surface oils are popular in the mining industry, especially when they’re manufactured from materials layered found in the processing sludge. This ensures there’s no extra steps in the processing stages just to remove an additive introduced for evaporation control.
Raincoats for Heaps
Raincoats are another recent innovation in mining processing that has a lot of potential for environmental protection. These covers are specifically placed over the heaps themselves to keep rainfall from flushing out too much solution at once. This reduces the chances of runoff and overflow, keeping everything moving on schedule through the ditches and ponds.
Skimmers to Keep Water Clean
Skimmers play an important role in fishponds, but they’re also used in mining process ponds to trap surface debris. Even a few leaves or a bit of trash from someone’s lunch can interfere with the sensitive equipment used for removing valuable ore and minerals from the carbon it’s bonded with. Pond skimmers are relatively basic accessories, but they’re very useful when compared to the hard work of manually skimming large process ponds on a regular basis.