Cleaning up to Conserve Water at Peñasquito

Nov 10, 2017 12:30 PM ET

Many of our operations are taking important steps forward to reduce or reuse water and help Goldcorp move Towards Zero Water. Water is an integral part of mineral processing, but is also necessary for the maintenance of vehicles, which need to be cleaned before they can be effectively serviced.

At Peñasquito, the challenge of capturing and reusing water used in the washing and maintenance process has been addressed with the installation a truck wash facility that safely contains and reuses wash water.  The facility is an automatic, hands-free wash-rack system which washes the undercarriage, sides and tops of vehicles and collects and reuses the wash water.

“We saw this wash system at a trade show a couple of years ago and realized this could help reduce our fresh water use in our vehicle maintenance process,” said Luis Ibarlucea, Supply Chain Superintendent at Peñasquito. “The beauty of the equipment is the high pressure system lets us wash our pickup trucks thoroughly, removing dirt and dust very fast and efficiently, and does not require soap or other chemicals, just water, which means 100% of the collected wash water can be reused by the system.”

Vehicles drive on to a containment hydropad – an above ground steel wash facility with walls which also help to contain overspray and other water loss, increasing wash water recovery. The automatic vehicle undercarriage and wheel wash system provides 520 gallons per minute of wash water, enough to deal with heavy dirt and debris from mine site use. Water is channeled into a containment system which collects and separates any debris for later removal to the water treatment plant. A second section of the system holds clean water for the final rinse, which is also collected and reused.

Now fully installed at Peñasquito, the equipment has clear safety user instructions.  “A couple of workers from the local community are employed to take care of the equipment and guide the users to handle it properly,” Luis adds. “They will do a pre-clean if needed and provide vacuum cleaning and dry supplies after the washing process, offering a complete environmentally friendly washing station for our site vehicles, that will help prolong their working life and make maintenance easier.”

This is another example where a system that offers improved efficiency also incrementally helps Goldcorp reduce our water footprint, advancing our Towards Zero Water vision.