Breathe in. Breathe out. Take a sip of water. Feels good, right? It should: clean air and water are our most basic human needs.
Gülden Yüksel, Environmental Manager at our Kisladag gold mine in Turkey, is always thinking about clean air and water. On site, that means managing the mine’s dust levels and treatment of waste water.
Controlling dust at our mine site
“Many of our mining activities create dust, so we have dust control practices in place around the site,” explains Gülden.
Sources of dust include:
- blasting and loading operations in the open pit area
- hauling and offloading of ore and waste rock
- crushing units site traffic on roads around the mining area
To control dust from these activities, water trucks continuously circulate and dampen the affected areas, wetting particulate that could become airborne.
“We dampen the rock before blasting occurs in the open pit,” says Gülden. “We also have water sprayers at the primary crusher and at the fine ore stockpile areas.”
Conveyor belts that transfer the ore through the various stages of crushing are covered, which helps to minimize the release of dust into the air.
And dust control doesn’t end at the crushing stage. Additional water sprayers keep the rock dampened on conveyor belts that transfer the crushed rock to the leach pad.
“It’s like a mini shower for the ore,” says Gülden.
Managing our mine site waste water
Beyond its use in dust control, water is an essential resource we manage carefully.
“At Kisladag,” says Gülden, “96% of the water we use as part of the mine’s industrial water requirements is recycled.”
In late 2013, we installed a water treatment plant at the site that has significantly reduced the need to collect fresh water from wells.
“Treated water is always used in place of fresh water,” says Gülden. “Our plant can treat up to 5,000 cubic meters of water per day. That’s the equivalent to two Olympic-sized swimming pools!”
“It’s so important to reuse water where we can,” says Gülden. “In the summer months, additional water from the treatment plant is used in our water trucks to suppress dust.”
To make even better use of available water, rainwater runoff from the waste rock areas and the open pit is collected in lined ponds. Then we feed this water into the water treatment plant.
When we have more water than we need to use, excess treated water is discharged. The environmental team keeps a close watch on the quality of discharged water by testing samples collected on a routine basis.
We all share water and air
Managing the site’s air and water is an essential part of our operations at Kisladag, and it’s a responsibility we take seriously. Because at the end of the day, air and water are resources we share with everyone.
“Clean air and clean water is very important for us and for the village of Gümüşkol, our closest neighbour,” says Gülden. “Many of our employees live nearby, which means we’re always thinking about our families.”