Integrated Pump Rental’s SlurrySucker dredging unit recently came to the rescue of a mine on South Africa’s west coast suffering from sea water ingress into its main process water pond.
A recent two-week trial saw the SlurrySucker take on saltwater and high-volume conditions at the mine.
The mine’s main process water pond would fill with sediment within a week, with the sea water it was filled with being highly corrosive, according to IPR. In addition to dealing with this problem, the mine wanted a safer and more cost-effective option than the divers, equipped with manually operated suction pipes, it was employing to remove sediment.
Ruaan Venter, Rental Development Manager at Integrated Pump Rental, said: “This large pond – about 70 m square and 8 m deep – is central to the mine operation as it feeds all the process plants. It is therefore vital that sediment is removed continuously, quickly and in large quantities.”
During the trial, the SlurrySucker was able to pump 250 cu.m/h of sediment with a solids content of 30-40%. This allowed the specialised dredging equipment to remove 60-70 t/h of sediment from the pond.
“When in contact with conventional metal pump components, saltwater is extremely corrosive and, over time, can cause a lot of damage to the equipment leading to the frequent replacement of wear plates and impellers. In addition, the integrity of the framework will also be compromised,” Venter said. “Under these conditions and to mitigate against corrosion, we provide our customers with a full stainless steel pump solution with rubber-lined pipes to transport material from the pond.”
The success of the trial has raised the interest of other mining operations along this coastline, where sea water is also used in the process plants, according to the company.
“Demanding conditions like these would warrant the customer considering a purchase option,” Venter says.
“It is likely that the SlurrySucker would be operational every day on these ponds, making this specialised equipment a valuable investment in the efficient running of the plant.”