Emerging applications for floating covers in the mining and energy sectors to Protect Water (Technical Paper, Hydro Process 2015, Antofagasta, Chile)

August 6, 2015

Floating geosynthetic covers have been used over the past 30 years to protect water resources by government water authorities and agricultural owners in the United States, Canada, Australia and South America. Driven by climate change and growing shortages of fresh water, governments and industry are increasingly looking at new technology to help protect our diminishing fresh water resources. Floating covers are an important technology designed to protect water from costly evaporation losses while protecting water from contamination including dust and debris prevention. Increasingly floating covers are being used by both the energy and mining sectors to help save costs from water losses while providing an important sustainability strategy for their communities. This paper outlines the growing trend of expanding the use of engineered floating covers into mining and processing applications and specific examples of floating covers used in mining. These applications include evaporation control, preventing water contamination and maintaining consistent fluid temperatures for a variety of mining process applications. The paper also addresses the importance of choosing the correct materials for floating covers. This includes information of the special fortified geomembrane materials designed to provide enhanced longevity, mechanical and flexibility properties. The paper also outlines the best practices required for designing, fabrication and installation of floating cover systems.

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Layfield Environmental Containment is a leading North American vertically integrated company involved in the manufacturing, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of geomembranes and floating cover systems used for environmental containment.