© Veolia

Mine water from an Australian coal mine runs a power plant

Posted on 03 October 2018.

In Australia, Veolia is building a plant to treat mine water from a coal mine. The goal is to reduce the site’s environmental impact and improve its operational efficiency.

The facility will treat the mine water from the mine and cover the water requirements of a power plant 14 km away to create a virtuous local circular economy loop.

The Springvale mine in Lithgow, New South Wales, in southeastern Australia, produces the coal used by the Mount Piper power station, which supplies about 15% of the electricity consumed in the most populous state in Australia. Although it has begun the transition to renewable energy, Australia uses coal to produce almost two thirds of its electricity. And what’s more it is the world's largest exporter of coal.

In 2017, Veolia’s bid was selected for the construction and operation of a Mine water treatment plant at the Springvale site under a fifteen year "DBOOT" (Design Build Own Operate Transfer) contract. The facility will treat the mine water to supply to the power plant 14 kilometers away through a pipeline linking the two sites allowing beneficial re-use. Veolia thus creates a virtuous local circular economy loop. In the event that the Mount Piper power station is not operating at full capacity, excess treated water can be discharged safely into the companies Thompsons Creek storage dam.

Target "zero discharge"

Central to this major project is the goal of "zero discharge". The Springvale facility under its license is to make an environmental improvement by ensuring that the mine water does not go into Sydney’s water supply.

The construction of the Springvale plant is expected to be completed in mid-2019. It will create a large number of jobs at a regional level.

About Veolia

Worldwide, Veolia helps mining companies to reduce their operating costs while operating more sustainably thanks to innovative technologies.

This issue is all the more crucial as the mining industry, which is a major water and energy consumer, is now facing a number of challenges, including tougher environmental regulations and increased pressure from public opinion.