For the Mawson Iron Project, the slurry is a mixture (approximately) of two parts magnetite concentrate to one-part water, by weight. Studies1 currently have the slurry discharging into agitated surge tanks as it arrives at the floating port. This slurry is then distributed to individual banks of filters to remove the bulk of the water. The filtered concentrate will contain approximately 8.5% moisture. There is nothing novel about the filter plant. Filter plants function perfectly well anywhere, onshore or offshore, as long as they are set up correctly.
The oil & gas industry have the equivalent of entire refineries on floating platforms (Floating Production Storage and Offloading facilities - FPSO’s) now, and as planned for the offshore (Browse FLNG Development Woodside) off Western Australia. Other examples of complex processes being applied at sea, include many of the world’s navies using nuclear reactors as a means of power, and garbage processing plants. By comparison, a fixed slurry receiving and filtering plant is a very unsophisticated, low-tech installation and low risk. The high quality desalinated water removed from the slurry by the filter plant will be returned to shore for use in industrial, municipal or agricultural applications or returned to the mine for reuse.
1 Based on Lodestone Equity Group Conceptual Feasibility Studies