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Rapid dewatering at Botswana open pit

RECENTLY a Sykes diesel driven pump set was used to rapidly dewater an open pit at an existing copper mine in northern Botswana. Using this high performance, high head pump set, 103 million litres of water was removed in just 30 days to enable exploratory drilling to take place.

Steve du Toit, rental development manager at Integrated Pump Rental, explains that due to unseasonably high rainfall it was no longer possible to reach the benches and the face where the exploratory core drilling needed to be done.

“This was when the mine reached out to us requesting rapid assistance to avoid any further delays,” du Toit says. “After assessing the application requirement and operating conditions, we selected and dispatched one of our Sykes XH 150 rental pump sets.”

The Sykes XH 150 Rental pump sets are available either as trailer mounted units or on skids, allowing for easy installation on site, also facilitating the moving of the unit from section to section as required. In this instance, a skid mounted unit was used.

An advantage with the Sykes XH150 is that it offers automatic priming which meant that on arrival at the mine the unit could quickly be put to work dewatering the open pit. This unit has a flow rate of 120 litres per second which meant that is could move some 3456 m3 of water in eight hours, and as bonus it is also capable of handling solids with ease.

Engineered for reliable performance with low fuel consumption, the pump is able to work in dewatering applications for extended periods of time and its ability to operate in ‘snore’ conditions allows for conditions where suction levels may fluctuate.

Du Toit explains that in this particular application, renting a Sykes pump set made more sense for the mine but where ongoing dewatering is required in surface and underground mines customer often prefer to purchase the pump set outright. “In a lot of these instances, we are still called upon to enter in service level agreements to ensure that the pump sets are correctly maintained ensuring the lowest total cost of ownership.”

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