Barrick’s Lagunas Norte operation has used an Ohio based modular thermal waste to energy specialist – Eco Waste Solutions (EWS) – to install an energy recovery system.
The Lagunas Norte operation is located on the western flank of the Peruvian Andes at an elevation of over 4,000 meters above sea level. The open-pit, crush, valley-fill heap leach operation produced 387,000 ounces of gold in 2017, with production in 2018 anticipated to reach 230,000-270,000 ounces of gold.
As much as the rise in mining in Peru over the last 15 years has been seen as a positive impetus in improving the country’s economic position and the welfare of its people, it did also create a problem of increased and varied waste streams in an area that makes landfills unfeasible and the transportation of waste too expensive.
When the Canadian owned gold mining company opened its Lagunas Norte site, it knew that it would not be able to rely on a conventional waste disposal and treatment solution. Rather, it would require an on-site waste management system capable of handling waste generated by 1,600 residents including domestic waste and special wastes like by-products from equipment servicing, oily rags, filters and various liquids.
EWS provided a solution to Barrick’s problem by supplying the mining company with its ECO 2TN-25LPH model. It was selected by Barrick for its ability to process all the identified target waste streams, as well as its ability to meet strict environmental standards. It processes up to 2 tonnes of solid waste and 250l of liquids per day.
To simplify the waste tracking, operations and air emission monitoring requirements, it was concluded that a combination system that could process both solid and liquid waste would be ideal. The ECO model with an integrated liquid waste combustion system was selected. It can process all the target waste streams that would otherwise leave a legacy long after the mine closes and is well suited to the mining environment. Liquids such as glycol and used lubricating oils are eliminated. This reduces the clean fuel requirements for processing the solid waste – a significant cost savings in a remote location where fuel costs are much higher.