Thousands of balls to counteract drought effects at mining sites

Chilean company Exma has come up with an innovative solution to counteract the effects of extreme heat and drought on tailing ponds, water desalination pools, process water pools, etc., at mining sites.

To prevent liquids from evaporating, Exma proposes the use of the Barrier Ball, a floating cover system for water bodies composed of plastic balls filled with… water.

Together, the polyethylene balls cover 91% of the surface they’re placed on. Subsequently, they create a barrier that decreases the heat and mass exchange between the liquid and the environment.

Thousands of balls to counteract drought effects at mining sites

According to the company’s website, the balls can reduce evaporation by 85%, as well as diminish odor, volatile organic compounds, and corrosive vapors emissions significatively.

The National Copper Corporation of Chile claims to have seen positive results when it comes to algae control, evaporation, odor emissions, energy consumption and even wildlife protection at its Ministro Hales mine. Thus, the company has asked Exma to help them optimize water usage at its Minera Rodomiro Tomic.

The Barrier Ball, which resists temperatures of -40°C up to 80°C, is said to last for 15 years and to provide other benefits, such as a 50% reduction in energy consumption for heating liquids.