Imerys Minerals Australia produces kaolin and employs 36 local people at its Pittong plant.
3610 Glenelg Hwy, Pittong, VIC, 3360
Water is one of its major consumables in the process of extracting kaolin from the quarried material.
Water is one of its major consumables in the process of extracting kaolin from the quarried material. They wanted to lower water consumption down to 5KL per tonne of finished product. They wanted to maximise recycled water used and the amount of their product created.
The business fitted low-flow shower heads and cistern weights, checked all taps and valves for leaks, upgraded the pipe and pump capacity for transferring treated water to the storage dam for re-use (to help meet plant demand), installed a flow meter in the laboratory to monitor usage, used recycled water on pump seals, adopted a weekly inspection program to monitor for leaks and introduced an education and reminder program to encourage the operators to aim for maximum efficiency.
Furthermore, they also upgraded the pit catchment and delivery system, which captures plant water and stormwater, enabling stormwater to be pumped directly to the pre-treatment holding dam (to improve the water quality and increase the capacity to recycle). They installed a floating pump to reduce the level of the (lowest) pre-treatment holding dam to maximise capture of stormwater without overflow and increased level control at the final treated water storage dam to minimise the use of water during times of high plant demand for water.
They also introduced recycled water to hoses for wash downs and spills projects that benefit the local community (not related to production) and made treated water accessible to local fire authorities for firefighting. They also recycled 1,200L water tanks to eligible local pensioners.
As a further initiative, the business offered to pump water from its Lal Lal site into the Ballarat system whenever possible. A total of 300 million litres was transferred in the first two years.
Imerys achieved significant improvement in terms of their water efficiency. Transfer and storage improvements in the water recycling process have led to the biggest savings.
Whilst it is difficult to be precise with the kilolitres (kL) per tonne, businesses measure their water use with this indicator because of product variation. It appears that Imerys has improved their water efficiency by around 20%.