Gradiant, a global solutions provider and developer for advanced water and wastewater treatment, has announced partnerships with SLB, Rio Tinto, and an Australian global mining company to improve sustainability in the mining industry with a focus on reducing carbon and water footprints. The projects are in the US and western Australia for resource recovery of critical minerals and industrial process water.
Gradiant’s collaborations with SLB and the Australian global mining company target the recovery of metals such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt, which are essential in producing batteries for electric cars, smartphones, and computers. The mining of these materials is water intensive. With increased market demand and environmental regulations, Gradiant’s technologies enable efficient and economical water governance through end-to-end customised solutions.
SLB integrates Gradiant’s technologies to concentrate lithium solution with SLB’s direct lithium extraction (DLE) and production technology process — reducing time-to-market and environmental footprint for lithium extraction. The solution enhances the impact of the sustainable lithium extraction process by enabling high levels of lithium concentration in a fraction of the time required by conventional methods while reducing carbon emissions, energy consumption, and capital costs compared to thermal-based methods.
For Rio Tinto, Gradiant will deliver a new facility in western Australia to replace ageing facilities by employing the company’s reverse osmosis (RO) infinity membrane technologies and SmartOps digital artificial intelligence (AI) into existing mining operations. Gradiant has introduced two chemical-free technologies into operations to minimise chemical consumption and waste discharge.
Its RO Infinity and SmartOps technologies will concentrate wastewater from nickel and cobalt production in a western Australia facility for a global mining company, resulting in up to 75% cost savings with lower carbon and water footprints compared to conventional technologies.
“Mining is a complex industrial sector with challenges of remote locations, large volumes of waste, wide fluctuations in water quality, and the high-value end-product that demands design and operations efficiencies,” said Prakash Govindan, COO of Gradiant. “The opportunity for water technology in the mining industry is resource recovery in wastewater coupled with machine learning (ML) AI. This is made possible by Gradiant’s understanding of the chemistry that underlies the production processes, which is then operationalised by ML digital technology.”
Gradiant designs, builds, and operates complete, end-to-end water and digital solutions. The technologies reduce freshwater usage, reclaim valuable resources, and renew water to its freshwater state.