Snowmaking to Remove Nitrogen from the Mine Water at the East Boulder Mine, Stillwater Mining Company

CIM Edmonton 2004
Matt Wolfe, Bruce Gilbert, Ray Armstrong,
Abstract The East Boulder Mine located in Montana, U.S.A. now utilizes snowmaking to assist with mine water treatment for nitrogen removal. Nitrogen species, including ammonia, are common contaminants in mine water from underground mining operations. Snowmaking provides secondary treatment of nitrogen during the winter due to the chemical and physical processes that occur during snowmaking, in the snow pack and in the snowmelt. The primary processes include atomization, evaporation, sublimation and volatilization. The snowmakers also provide secondary treatment for nitrogen removal when used as evaporators and/or land application units during the summer. In 2002, the snowmaking process was successful at reducing total nitrogen in the mine water by up to 87 percent. If additional losses due to soil and root zone processes are included, total nitrogen reduction would increase to between 87 and 97 percent. Snowmaking is particularly effective at treating and removing ammonia from the mine water. Snowmaking is an effective nitrogen reducing treatment method during the winter when other treatment methods such as land application cannot be used.
Keywords: Treatment, Evaporation, Snowmaking, Effluent, Nitrogen, Ammonia, Snowmaker, Sublimation, Removal, Water
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from CIM Edmonton 2004