As films such as 2019’s Dark Waters reflect, chemical contamination – and the serious implications it has for both human health and the wider environment – is increasingly in the public consciousness. And, as the public becomes more aware of wastewater contamination, governmental and non-governmental institutions are implementing ever-stricter regulations on it – including in the mining industry.

Indeed, to comply with these regulations, protect our natural environment, safeguard human health, and retain a competitive advantage, many mining companies around the world are increasingly working to prevent soil pollution from contaminated wastewater.

What’s the best way to monitor wastewater composition?

Of course, to take quick action against hazardous elements in their wastewater, mining companies must be able to closely monitor the elemental composition of their wastewater streams for any changes. But, while most mining processing plants do have their own water treatment facilities, the monitoring methods used vary in effectiveness.

For instance, some of the most popular traditional methods are inductively coupled plasma (ICP) analysis or calorimetry – typically performed at-line in the laboratory. But there’s a major downside to these techniques: they are destructive, and can often only analyze 1-2 milliliters of wastewater per sample. On top of this, these methods also require qualified and trained operators to run the instrument. All in all, a solution that’s not always worth the cost.

Real-time monitoring: A stronger solution

There’s an alternative, though: real-time, online monitoring, without human intervention. This method gives mining companies direct insight into the production process and allows them to control essential parameters quickly and accurately. In this way, companies can save time, ensure they adhere to ever-tighter product specifications and regulatory requirements, and help protect our natural environment. What’s more, by minimizing the costs of labor, reagents, and penalties for waste and non-compliance, real-time monitoring can also help mining companies to boost their profitability.

Epsilon Xflow: Designed for mining

At Malvern Panalytical, we offer a high-performance solution to help our mining-industry customers take advantage of these benefits: the Epsilon Xflow. This real-time liquid elemental analyzer is designed for the continuous analysis of elemental composition in liquids. Its high accuracy, excellent repeatability, and ability to respond immediately to changing process conditions make it ideal for mining applications.

Indeed, the Epsilon Xflow can also be used to monitor process liquids, enabling mining companies to optimize their plant throughput, ensure highly efficient production, and deliver optimal ore quality. Need more proof? Just look at the results from our application study  – demonstrating the instrument’s versatility in improving the efficiency of different processes, and its ability to produce stable results over several months without any recalibration. With tools like this, mining companies – and the world at large – can be confident that the wastewater issues highlighted in Dark Waters won’t happen again.

To find out more about the Epsilon Xflow and our other materials analysis solutions for mining, please visit our dedicated webpages or contact Uwe Konig.

Further reading