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128 www. bus- ex. com April 10

Aguablanca for environmental good practice and water conservation in the industry. Looking to the future, Merino is keen to mention the ? 724,000 investment that is currently being made in expanding the site's flotation capacity. Metallurgical laboratory tests have shown that nickel recovery could be enhanced through greater residence time in the flotation cells that lie at the heart of the processing operation. As a result, four new flotation cells ( each of 40 cubic metre capacity) will be phased in this year, allowing for a new residence time of almost an hour. " We expect demand to stay buoyant; and the improvements we have made in productivity should ensure a long and prosperous life for the mine. Meanwhile, we are also demonstrating how good management practice can lead to many improvements in accident reduction and environmental integrity. Our achievements at Aguablanca are something that everyone involved should be proud of," he adds. - Editorial research by Daniel Finn April 10 www. bus- ex. com 129 since we took over," he comments. " We maintain a very good relationship with the environmental authorities of the province and I believe we are breaking new ground in the use and reclamation of land. At the same time, we have achieved a zero discharge record for both liquids and gases. We can honestly state that we have never had a single environmental incident." So far, 500,000 cubic metres of soil has been carefully stockpiled for latter replacement and up to 80 per cent of the 5,300 acorn trees affected by the mine have been re- sited elsewhere. To date, 139,000 square metres of waste dump surface has been carefully restored. It is hoped that when surface operations are complete, the restored land can be returned to its former owners- small- scale subsistence farmers- if they want this option. Meanwhile, 50 per cent of the water used in processing is derived from sewage treatment plants. Aguablanca is the first mine in Spain to make use of water for processing from this source and Merino hopes to set a new benchmark