Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Ackerson, Micheal

Committee Member/Reader


Committee Member/Second Reader


Committee Member/Third Reader

Boyd, L.H


In the mining industry, usage of large volumes of water enables mines to conduct multiple processes within one location. Hypersaline brine waters exit the processes of the mine to be utilized for other roles; some of these roles include leaching, recirculation, and extraction operations. These waters are highly concentrated with salt components and are released to different sections of the mine. The salts of highest concentration in the brine are aluminum sulfate and magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, along with low concentrations of many other elements. There are multiple ways to recover purified water from the brine solution: freeze crystallization, evaporative processes, and reverse osmosis. The impacted water in the mine must be purified to meet regulations before being discharged. Freeze crystallization is a process which can be used to recover purified water. For this task, the sponsor (Freeport-McMoRan), has requested an evaluation of a freeze crystallization process for recovering 50% of the impacted mine waters. Multiple effect evaporation and reverse osmosis were also investigated as, potentially, less costly processes. The Freezerbacks researched, designed, and economically evaluated a full-scale freeze crystallization process as well as two alternative full-scale processes: 5 stage multiple effect evaporation and reverse osmosis. All three processes were designed to treat hyper-saline mine water that was sent into evaporation pond systems. These systems were designed for Freeport-McMoRan’s mines that need to treat impacted water.


Freeze, Crystallization, Mine, Saline, Evaporator, WERC