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Environnement

2019 — volume 1, numéro 1

Mining Waters: Treating Domestic Wastewater at a Mining Camp

Developing mining projects in remote areas poses major challenges. In order to build and operate a site properly, the mining company must have basic infrastructure facilities that both meet the needs of the project and, above all, comply with local laws and regulations.

At the core of any mine camp project, the two main needs are energy and water. In the best-case scenario, energy will be provided by a public utility with its own network that services the mine site directly; otherwise, power generation becomes the responsibility of the mining company, a major and critical issue. Water, the other essential needed by the workers for consumption and hygiene.

The infrastructure of a mining camp is similar to that of a small community. After meeting its primary water and energy needs, the mining company must ensure that discharged wastewater contaminated by human activity complies at all times with the laws and standards that apply to liquid discharges in receiving environments. In Quebec, this is governed by the Environment Quality Act (EQA).

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