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Quebec funds electrolysis technology to clean mining wastewater

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Quebec is investing $4.5 million in a Sherbrooke-based clean technology company specializing in electrolysis to help create opportunities for mining operations to recycle wastewater.

Funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, E2Metrix Inc. will utilize electrocoagulation, electrooxidation and electrodisinfection to treat and eliminate complex organics, total suspended solids, heavy metals, emulsified oils, phosphates, ammonia and other contaminants from wastewater.

The technology will help the mining industry comply with regulations regarding ammonia, which can be highly toxic to aquatic life. In mining, ammonia is introduced to waste streams through the use of the common blasting agent ammonium nitrate fuel oil, cyanide destruction or degradation.

In a research paper, E2Metrix Inc. explains how it assisted a gold mine in northern Quebec that faced high levels of ammonia in its water discharge from blasting operations. According to the company’s VP of Technology & Innovation, Ihsen Ben Sala, the mine was ordered to reduce ammonia levels in the mine water discharge to under 10 mg/L to protect wildlife from ammonia toxicity. In 2017, E2Metrix used its electrochemistry technology to help the mine reach its goals.

Hydro-International

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E2Metrix Inc. says its wastewater treatment ECOTHOR reactor has a cylindrical shape to provide an “optimum balance between three principal phenomena: electrochemistry, coagulation and hydrodynamics.” The company says it uses inter-electrode spacing, continuous current use and an applied anodic surface.

Natural Resources Canada has worked with E2Metrix to demonstrate its ECOTHOR system on wastewater, in particular to control ammonia.

The process “disinfects the effluent and separates the solids, resulting in a very significant and simultaneous reduction of the concentration of several particulate, colloidal and soluble species present in the original fluid,” states a project description.

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