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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Zeolite Mine in Japan


Zeolite is defined in the OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS Dictionary as any of a large group of minerals consisting of hydrated aluminosilicates, used as cation exchangers and molecular sieves.

Zeolite is varies from colours dictated by the host rocks and soil and also reaction with the atmosphere. The colour of Pure Zeolite is blue-green (Teal) or sky-blue.  A fresh-cut zeolite ore looks a bit green but when it gets expose to air and dry, it will look like a sky-blue.

Zeolite is one of the most demanding mineral products in the agro-industry as well as mining industry especially in mine waste management section of environment department. The Agro-industry requires the end product of zeolite mineral in treating water and soil.

The Zeolite Mine in Akita Prefecture in Japan is one of the small scale mines which utilises one excavator and one haul truck at the mine site apart from processing facilities. Mining and Processing of zeolite to its finished product is so simple and does not require intensive labour. There are about two-three workers at the mine site. The operational costs and capital costs are too low and the operation is feasible at a minimum cost.  One excavator does dual tasks by changing the mounted bucket and rock drill bit. To break the ore, drill bit is inserted. After drilling is done, bucket is inserted to collect the fractured zeolite ore and further stockpile on site for haulage.

One haul truck is used for transporting the ore to the processing facilities. From the processing facilities, ore is crushed, screened and packed depending on customers’ demand and requisition. This process is repeated which constitute the mine cycle. If demand increases, production is increased which obviously require additional equipment and labour to cater for the demand.

Zeolite is extremely amazing in the water treatment. If zeolite powder is poured or mix with dirty water, you will definitely get clear water as zeolite causes the suspended particles in water to settle to the bottom of the water within few seconds.  Polluted soils can be treated to regain its normal soil fertility.  Zeolite powders are also fed to livestock.  If zeolite ore is placed in water, it will melt like ice-ream until the junk is disappeared.

Zeolite can be used as either passive or active treatment in the mine waste water treatment.

(Picture of Zeolite Mine in Akita Prefecture near Kosaka, Japan)

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