Across the globe, important minerals from many high salinity sources are harvested for various industrial, commercial and agricultural uses. As shown in Table 1, for example, potash, magnesium and other minerals are harvested from the areas such as the Great Salt Lake, the Dead Sea, the Danakhil region of Ethiopia, Qinghai Salt Lake and many other sites throughout the world.Clearly, the volumes of minerals are significant in these areas and many companies exist solely to extract them from locations such as these.
Interestingly, many mineral sources are land-locked and salt production is achieved through a cascading series of evaporation ponds. If additional ponds cannot be developed for this purpose, forward osmosis can potentially take the place of evaporation ponds. Given that the by-product of mineral mining is a TDS solution with high osmotic potential to concentrate the feed stream, industries can realize a “free” energy source.