Diversified major Teck Resources on Tuesday reported that commissioning was under way at its Elkview saturated rock fill (SRF) expansion, which doubles the water treatment facility’s capacity to 20-million litres a day of water.
Construction was completed in late 2020 and the facility is now commissioning to ramp up to achieve 100% of design targets.
The Elkview SRF has been achieving near complete removal of selenium and nitrate from up to 10-million litres a day since 2018 and is part of Teck’s ongoing work to implement the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan (EVWQP). The goal of the EVWQP is to maintain the health of the watershed in the area of Teck’s British Columbia steelmaking coal operations.
The Elkview SRF is Teck’s second treatment facility in the Elk Valley, with two additional facilities under construction at Fording River Operations. Teck expects to have capacity to treat up to 47.5-million litres a day later this year – nearly two and a half times its 2020 treatment capacity.
"Teck’s use of saturated rock fills to treat mine-affected water is leading-edge sustainable technology,” said Dr Lisa Kirk, an affiliate professor in Montana State University's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the principal biogeochemist at the Montana-based consulting Enviromin, who helped develop SRF technology.
“Saturated rock fill is extremely effective at removing selenium and nitrate from mine affected water and improving water quality,” she said in a statement distributed by Teck.
The miner notes that SRF water treatment removes more than 95% of selenium concentrations and that near complete nitrate removal is achieved.