HSTS – what is it, and why is the HPS mine going to use it?
The HPS families are committed to using modern, impact-minimizing techniques throughout the mining process. To preserve water and use less energy, the HPS mine will use adifferent type of transportation system to move materials around the mine site.
HPS will use a conveyance system called high-solids transportation system (HSTS), which is a series of conveyor belts or similar conveyances (e.g., Rail-Veyor) working in both directions. The HSTS represents an improvement over the traditional pipeline conveyance method because it requires no water be added to transport mine materials, unlike typically phosphate mine conveyance systems, which carry a semi-liquid “slurry” mixture of freshly mined matrix and water through pipelines.
HSTS allows HPS to delay the creation of the semi-liquid mixture until the matrix reaches the beneficiation plant. This is advantageous because dry matrix is lighter, easier to transport, and does not pose a high risk of spillage. It is also quiet (operating at about the level of a telephone dial tone) and runs on electricity. It is highly adaptable to a variety of terrains and mine configurations.
Wherever possible, the HSTS will be constructed on the insideof the ditch and berm system to ensure that all stormwater runoff from the HSTS is captured by the berm. In public right of way areas and on upland portions of the site outside of the ditch and berm, a swale and catchment area will be constructed adjacent to the HSTS. Bradford and Union Counties will have similar high-solids transportation system for the dry transport of mined materials between excavation areas and processing facilities.HPS will construct an elevated, enclosed, double-deck HSTS (DHSTS) for transporting materials safely across the New Riverto and from the beneficiation plant. One level will transport cleaned matrix from the Union County pre-washer to the beneficiation plant, and the other level will move sand discarded from beneficiation back to the sand-clay mix plant. While most of the HSTS will be mobile, and will move around the site as mining progresses, the DHSTS will stay in place for the life of the mine.
Where it crosses the New River and its riparian corridor, the DHSTS conveyor belt will be completely enclosed and equipped with spill pans or other secondary containment along its entirelength. The DHSTS will be supported by a trestle secured withpilings installed in locations purposefully chosen to minimize impacts on wildlife within the river, especially the oval pigtoe and Suwannee moccasinshell mussels. The pilings will be spaced to avoid navigational impacts even though few vessels large enough to be affected operate in this part of the river. Water will flow past the pilings with little change in its natural path, so no erosion or shoaling should result from their presence. HPS’s use of the HSTS and DHSTS dry conveyance systems,coupled with other technological innovations, will minimize impacts to the land and facilitate its rapid return to beneficial use.