The new technology relates to ponds for cooling and/or recovering salts from aqueous solutions. This includes ponds for crystallising salts like potassium chloride, lithium compounds, or other valuable mineral salts from brine produced by solution mining or sourced from surface lakes.
Mike Fedoroff, Hatch’s global director of potash, said: “This invention demonstrates our continued commitment to improved design and the development of innovative solutions for our clients. Our pond technology and simulation models have been validated through extensive work programmes at one of the largest solution mines and cooling-crystallisation-pond systems in the world.”
Cooling and crystallisation ponds are used in the solution-mining industry to provide relatively adaptable and low-energy-cost salt-production solutions. Cooling ponds are especially suited to areas where land is available and the weather is favourable, such as those with low ambient temperatures and little precipitation. The ponds do not require major investments and maintenance, making them an attractive technology for both emerging developers and existing producers.
Coupled with validated pond modelling and optimisation tools, this technology can:
- Ensure that pond designs have the highest productivity and can achieve the required production rates;
- Predict future pond production, identify bottlenecks, and recommend product reclamation and operating strategies;
- Run what-if scenarios with different geometrical parameters, and process, meteorological, and design conditions; and
- Use Hatch’s integrated model approach to deliver the lowest operating expense, maximising water conservation, energy recovery, and synergies between the production caverns, refinery, and cooling crystallisation ponds.
Hatch said that it is helping to optimise the industry’s cooling crystallisation footprint with this state-of-the-art technology, and is already maximising pond productivity and cost efficiencies for its clients.