Pascua Lama Worker Camp WTP Commissioning

Directed by the VP of Operations in January 2012to investigate and expedite commissioning of a mining worker accommodation site WTP in Chile.

WTP Commissioning

Directed by the VP of Operations in January 2012 to investigate and expedite commissioning of a mining worker accommodation site WTP in Chile. I completed a process description narrative, outstanding deficiency list, operator training records and several procedures (plant start-up, chemical preparation, filter washing, cartridge and filter replacement).

The WTP was supplied by two sources – well and surface water. Both water treatment systems are substantially operable with only a limited number of minor repairs required (leaks, missing fittings, and replacement parts required).

The 20 m deep wells supplied 4 L/s of very high-quality water. Each well head was housed inside a container protected by a surrounding wired cage rock barricade. The well supplied a pumping station consisting of a primary and secondary generator, fuel tank, holding tank, and pump house. Well water was pumped into two 250 m3 raw water storage tanks at the WTP location. Treatment process consisted of sand filtration, water softening, chlorination using sodium hypochlorite) and sodium hydroxide for pH control.

The surface water treatment system was fed 8.3 L/sec from the Rio Las Taguas at a pressure of 3 bar (43.5 psi). There were two riverside intake stations which move water to four 50 m3 holding tanks. From there, two 100 HP pumps moved the water 3.7 km into a 250 m3 raw water storage tank at the WTP.

River water treatment consisted of flocculation/sedimentation, sand and GAC filtration, water softening, RO membrane filtration, chlorination using sodium hypochlorite), hydrochloric acid for pH control and a remineralization solution.

High turbidity of the river water was reduced via flocculation/sedimentation subsystem using ferric chloride and a polymer. Supernatant flows to a 10m3 holding tank. Precipitated metals and settled material are removed and sent to a sludge press to squeeze out water. The removed water is then piped to the multimedia filtration tanks into the recharge tank to be used a backwash water while the solids are collected for future disposal.

Plant training was conducted on Jan 27, 2012 with a two-day commissioning commencing the following day. Over the course of the commissioning process, the RO plant only operated 12 hours instead of 24 due to insufficient raw water availability. During the previous week, the river water treatment system (including RO) had been running for significant periods of the time.

The surface water pumps for the river water treatment system were replaced with wells located near the river. While this improves the quality of the water due to soil filtration effects, it has resulted in a decrease in water availability as the groundwater requires time to recharge after a sustained draw.

When the river station is pumping water, the flow rate was measured at 58 m3/hour which was approximately double that required by the RO unit.

Water samples were taken on Jan 24, 2012 for analysis in a laboratory located in San Juan, Argentina with results available two weeks later.

Pumps, motors, filters, control boards, and valves were verified as operational by supplier representative on Jan 30, 2012.

I got to know Mike on a large industrial project in South America with challenging working conditions, a difficult location and extreme pressure for results, Mike rapidly took hold of a stalled aspect of the project, evaluated the situation, developed and implemented solutions and put in the hard work to achieve success. I can highly recommend Mike as a driven, results oriented professional. Mike would be an asset to any team.

~Senior Manager for Camp Service Provider in Santiago, Chile

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