Evaporation and crystallization ponds generate intermediate products from a range of ore recovery methods such as waste brine streams, solution mining brine recovery wells and brine recovery canals.
Novopro has considerable experience with pond investigations and design in North America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. Every pond system is unique, with specific climatic and environmental conditions used as key drivers for pond design, modelling and optimization.
Novopro’s pond expertise for conceptual design and existing operations include:
Novopro’s methodical approach commences with a compilation of all available environmental and weather data and reviewing the projected brine composition. An initial pond model is then developed using PHREEQC and METSIM modelling software. Subsequent model iterations are then generated as the pond design is optimized by introducing recycle streams from the processing plant itself, and/or the pond end brine.
The following are the main pond design considerations:
Pioneer in Pond Modelling Pond systems are specific to each application due to the variance in material balance properties such as feed brine composition, evaporation rates, leakage rates, brine entrainment and brine solubility equations. Novopro has developed a comprehensive pond model that can be adapted to fit any brine system in the world. The model’s quick simulation capability facilitates the optimization of pond arrangement and operation.
Knowledge, Experience and ConfidenceNovopro’s pond model is a versatile tool for pond development and optimization in both the early stages as well as operations. The model can be configured based on user data to determine the pond areas for use in the early stages. Similarly, the model can assign data from operating ponds to troubleshoot and optimize existing systems.
Accuracy, Adaptability, Efficiency and OptimizationThe effect of changing seasons on a pond system can be simulated by running monthly iterations of Novopro’s model to generate a summarized annual output. Novopro can test numerous conditions within a matter of minutes when searching for issues and optimization opportunities. Assumptions can be defined within the model for special cases such as a system susceptible to major flood events.
Proven resultsNovopro has developed pond models for multiple commercial pond operations. The simulation outputs were matched to the actual operating data, thus validating the accuracy of the models. Arab Potash Corporation of Jordan and Compass Minerals of Utah, amongst others, have integrated Novopro’s pond model into their operations.
Novopro has developed, coordinated and managed a multitude of Pilot Pond testwork programs specifically tailored to the needs and objectives of the project. Pilot ponds can be used to produce representative raw salts from the source brine to confirm evaporation rates, provide equilibrium and kinetic data, and gather data for pond start-up modelling. The raw salts harvested from Pilot ponds are often used as feed material for subsequent process testwork programs.
Novopro has provided the following:
Novopro can perform comprehensive reviews and analyses of existing pond operations to identify areas where potential resource losses may be occurring, or where topography may be causing losses in effective pond area. Novopro’s recommended technical and financial alternatives are then presented with justifications and back-up. The execution of laboratory or pilot scale test programs may also be recommended to evaluate the feasibility of the selected option.
Typical areas targeted during pond optimization include the following:
Novopro’s brine transfer solutions are configured to the specific brine volumes, concentration and composition of the system.
Novopro’s wealth of experience in both start-up and operation strategies for pond systems include brine transfer schedules based on the concentration in each pond, implementation of pond weirs, methods of maintaining uniform salt floors, tailings management, and equipment maintenance in a salt environment.Novopro develops detailed pond start-up models and programs for determining start-up timelines, requirements for building a halite base in the harvesting ponds, production impacts of integrating additional ponds to existing operations.
Additional pond operation expertise include:
Harvesting and transport of precipitated salts are equally as important as the upstream brine handling and concentration processes. Novopro’s detailed harvesting and transport analyses that typically focus on the tonnage of salt precipitated, variations in both the quantity and quality of salts precipitated at various periods during the evaporation season and the type of equipment most suited to handle the amount of material. The analysis will also look at the impact of harvesting operation on the required pond effective area, pond operating levels and stockpile requirements.
Key factors that influence the harvesting and transport strategies typically include: