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Water in Mining '14
The 4th International Congress on Water Management in Mining, Water in Mining 2014, successfully took place on May 28-30 at the Sheraton Miramar Hotel in Viña del Mar, Chile.
The theme of the congress, sustainable water management throughout the entire mining cycle, brought together 238 participants from 21 countries including: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, Spain, France, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, United Kingdom, USA and Venezuela.
The technical program included 65 presentations and three professional development courses were given prior to the event.
Water management, which includes supply, efficient use and treatment of effluents, is a crucial issue for mining both nationally and abroad. In northern Chile, where the industry faces water shortages in light of growing demand, seawater and desalinated seawater are consolidated as an alternative supply. The alternative is increasingly competitive despite high investment and operational costs incurred by having to pump water from the coast, up the mine site, highlighted Jacques Wiertz, Water in Mining 2014 Technical Coordinator.
Moreover, Wiertz stated that “in the treatment of effluents we have achieved significant progress with the implementation of different types of processes, in particular, with the use of membranes, now having moved from the research phase into large industrial applications and more affordable every day."
The event, co-organized by the Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry of the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland, and the company Gecamin, was chaired by Alvaro Hernández, Director of Water Resources at Codelco, Chile, who said “these events are for sharing experiences, knowledge and ideas, it´s a meeting of specialists."
One of the challenges for the next version will be to address the issue of water quality. Wiertz said that “this is the concurrent theme that shows up in all aspects of managing this resource, because depending on your use and destination, the required quality can vary. Therefore, it is important to adapt the quality depending on use or to adjust the process based on the quality of water available."
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