When it comes to pumps, there are many challenges associated with precious metal mining applications. For instance, there is a high degree of difficulty in handling abrasive paste with varying density, over long distances and without frequent breakdowns. This difficulty is compounded when chemicals are added to the paste.
However, a new white paper published by Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) concludes that the latest peristaltic hose pump technology can help overcome these obstacles.
The white paper focuses on the deployment of its Bredel hose pump technology in precious metal mining applications. The market costs of precious metals and minerals, in tandem with remote locations and challenging conditions, means that optimised pump selection for safe and responsible transfer of paste and tailings, has never been more important, not just for efficient mine operations, but for the environment.
The paper, authored by WMFTG’s mining applications specialists, concludes that in order to maximise profitability through improved uptime, reduced maintenance costs and enhanced site safety, mine operators should leverage the benefits of peristaltic hose pumps.
Right technology, right application
Mines often use at least two pumps per tank, one to lift from the tank and the other to feed a filter up to 300 metres away.
Wilfried Staijen, Bredel Hose Pumps account manager at WMFTG explains the focus of the white paper;
“Traditionally, centrifugal pumps have been adopted widely in precious metal mining, especially for thickener underflow applications, but they have many notable shortcomings. By way of example, the quantity of dry solids that can be accommodated by centrifugal pumps is limited. In numerous applications, pump impellers last just a few weeks due to factors such as strong acidity and/or abrasive content.
“We wanted to show mining companies that hose pump output is far less impacted by fluid dynamics such as paste density, viscosity, suction conditions and discharge pressure and are not affected by the abrasive/aggressive nature of paste and chemicals. We are delighted to have a single document that communicates these points so effectively.”
Peristaltic hose pumps like those in the Bredel range are virtually maintenance-free. The only wear part is the hose, which can be replaced in-situ, without any requirement for special tools.
WMFTG’s white paper offers plenty of compelling examples of mines that have benefited from Bredel hose pumps. For example, at the CMOC International mine in Ouvidor, Brazil, which is mining and processing niobium, an element found increasingly in the super alloys used to manufacture heat-resistant jet engine components. Paste at Ouvidor is made up of 44% niobium with water, sulphuric acid, isopropyl and a flocculent. The solids content rises to 75% as the pulp becomes more concentrated at the bottom of the underflow thickener tank.
Previously, the mine discovered that centrifugal pumps could not manage such a high concentration, and suffered badly due to abrasive wear and chemical attack. Instead, the Ouvidor mine today has several Bredel hose pumps, some of which have been providing reliable operation for nearly a decade. Bredel 100, 80, 65 and 50 units are all pumping niobium pulp in tank transfer duties, running 18 to 24 hours per day.
Available for download
The white paper also offers many more examples of benefits of Bredel pumps in precious metal mining applications. A full copy of the paper can be downloaded here.