Kidd Creek Mines near Timmins, Ontario, Canada, is a world class mining operation. The mine began operation in 1966, producing copper, zinc, indium, cadmium, silver and sulphuric acid. The deposit is one of the largest and richest volcanic sulphide deposits in the world. There is an underground mine, copper smelter and refinery, zinc plant, cadmium plant, indium plant, sulphuric acid plant, and exploration office. Kidd Creek’s concentrating, smelting and refining processes are among the most advanced in the world.
A breach occurred in the dam at their tailing containment area resulting in contaminants leaching into a creek about eight-hundred meters away. The deepest points in both the pond and creek were about ten feet. The mine operators repaired the dam and wanted to clean-up the creek area. The use of conventional means would require roads being pushed in along the shores, long reach excavators employed to remove the sediments, and trucks to move the material back into the containment area. The damage to the area would virtually exceed the damage done with the tailings leak since a large mess would be created, including the removal of vegetation and the stirring up of the pond water.
It was decided that the IVAC PV500 Vacuum delivery unit would be used to remove the sediments from the pond bottom and move them back into the tailing area. This would allow the project to be much more cost effective and not cause the environmental damage to the surrounding area.
The work was completed in winter so that the ice would provide a work platform for the men and equipment. The vacuum equipment was hoarded inside because temperatures reached minus 40 below. Slots were cut into the ice with chainsaws and the material was picked up off the pond bottom through ten feet of water.
The picked up contaminants were sent about 800 meters back into the tailing area once the dam was repaired. The vacuum equipment has been used to move materials long distances horizontally as well as vertically. Such materials have included sludge from sumps and rock materials from mine shaft bottoms. A vacuum unit can prove itself as an environmentally sound, cost-effective and productive way of providing solutions for your difficult clean-up requirements.