We caught up with Adam Holland, Head of Mining, CDE as he reflects on his recent trip to the grand opening of the eco-friendly AuVert Mining and land reclamation operation in Condoto, Colombia.
AuVert Mining, Colombia
Monday 27th May, boarding a 6-person plane flight from Medellin, Colombia, to the Condoto. There, our strategic customer and partner, AuVert Mining, is holding a celebration to mark the official opening of a new mining operation to which CDE technology is key.
The land where the mining operation is situated is rich in precious metals, formerly mined for platinum but left in an unfit state for agricultural use by the local community. AuVert Mining has been working with the local community to remediate the ground and has worked collaboratively with the CDE team to pioneer a unique reclamation solution.
Combining AuVert’s technology with CDE’s experience in dewatering and tailings management, the solution allows for the extraction of the remaining precious metals existing in the ground, while removing up to 93% of residual mercury which has to date prevented this land from being used by the local population.
As a result the mine site now bears great hope for the community, creating jobs for the local people and rehabilitating the land for future agricultural use. Operated in partnership with the people of Condoto, the plant greatly contributes to the prosperity of the region, providing a vital platform for economic growth. AuVert also brings a number of important Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives to the region, not least funding instruments for local school children, who greeted us upon arrival with a spectacular brass ensemble to mark the beginning of the celebrations.
Cause for celebration
Today, I am joined by over 200 visitors to this extremely remote site. Meeting at “The Colosseum” (the local stadium) attendees included the Canadian Ambassador, Marcel Lebleu, officials from the Ministry of Mines and environmental agencies, delegates from universities in Colombia and Canada, local school children, community groups and citizens who had been invited to learn about the plant. The strategic importance of this operation required no introduction.
Aside from the direct impact of creating jobs on site and supporting local business, the community has already seen a reduction in crime levels in the area. Profit from the operation is invested back into the community, aiding education in schools and providing vital sand and aggregates for construction materials from the washed products on site.
At the end of mine life this land will be completely restored, securing agricultural revenue for the community for years to come.
Yet on a wider scale, the combined AuVert – CDE solution is a means for regulation of illegal mining. Providing a sustainable mining operation and land rehabilitation which benefits all those involved, the solution also actively assists with the Colombian Ministry of Mines’ formalisation process to encourage small-scale illegal mining operations toward legitimate operations, reducing damage to the environment.
On site, CDE’s modular plant stands out with ease, showcasing the familiar blue of the process equipment and the bright white of the AquaCycle™ thickener and water recycling unit. In remote Condoto, this plant embodies true intelligent design, reinforced by the praise of AuVert Mining owners and operators who herald the simplicity of the solution over competitor offerings, citing reduced maintenance and the superior performance of the CDE solution.
At the front end of the process, the customer employs the ever-dependent R2500, a durable hopper, feeder and scalping screen which conditions the feed prior to further processing by breaking down tough clay bound materials to provide a consistent feed to the processing plant and optimise production throughput.
The hopper capacity allows for charge filling which has the potential to free up an operator and vehicle, ultimately reducing the level of operator intervention required. Featuring CDE patented Infinity screening technology, which eliminates welds and creates a stronger, lighter screen, the R2500 produces the same acceleration as traditional screens while requiring less power, resulting in longer lifetime and reduced running costs.
EvoWash™ and AquaCycle™ provide optimal tailings management duo
The tail end of the process features CDE’s flagship EvoWash™ technology – a compact, modular sand washing system which integrates a high-frequency dewatering screen, sump and hydrocyclones to provide unrivalled control of silt cut points and eliminate the loss of quality fine sands to settling ponds.
Environmental awareness and commitment to sustainability dictate the implementation of resource saving strategies – a mission embodied by the combined AuVert-CDE site operations. Here, hydrocyclone and dewatering technology is key. By this stage of the process, precious metals have been extracted for sale and residual mercury removed. It is up to the EvoWash™ to deslime and dewater the tailings, while simultaneously creating valuable materials for the construction market.
The EvoWash™ also incorporates patented Infinity screen technology for optimal dewatering results and is a favourite with the operators at the AuVert Mining site.
The circuit is completed as slimes and waste water from the plant are processed by the CDE AquaCycle™ water management system, which recovers up to 90% of the water for re-circulation around the washing plant and thickens a tailings sludge. The plant requires 400m3 per hour of water for its operation and the introduction of the AquaCycle™ ensures that the top up water supply is limited to less than 40m3 per hour.
The AquaCycle™ and EvoWash™ duo make for optimal tailings management, re-purposing would-be waste into valuable sand for construction, soil for land rehabilitation, and reducing requirements for tailings ponds.
A New World of Resource
CDE’s ‘New World of Resource’ ethos runs through every strand of the business, embedding a commitment to reduce waste as well as remediate and turn it into value.
Taking off from the nearby airstrip it is clear to see how CDE delivers on this promise. The plant seems even more impressive from the air, in stark contrast to the disturbed ground which it slowly rehabilitates. Not only does CDE’s patented technologies allow for clean and energy-saving materials washing operations, but the company’s innovative approach to waste management also opens up a new world of possibilities, remediating land to bring prosperity to the local community and securing the livelihoods and education of future generations.
The event in Condoto was a celebration of sustainable mining – a triumph of the collaboration between CDE and AuVert which ultimately paves the way towards a greener future in mining. A promising outlook as we continue to collaborate with AuVert to pioneer eco-friendly mining within the region.