Many challenges in dewatering require more than just standalone products, and the integrated solutions offered by original-equipment manufacturer Weir Minerals Africa have proven to be vastly successful in meeting the needs of customers, says Weir Minerals Africa pumps product manager Marnus Koorts.
Strong research and development expertise, continuous product improvement and global partnerships are integral to the success of Weir Minerals Africa’s integrated dewatering solutions.
With a global track record in providing dewatering solutions for more than 40 years, the company continues to develop and deploy integrated end-to-end, fit-for-purpose systems.
“There are numerous applications where more than just a single product is required, and this is where our integrated solutions approach plays an important role for customers.”
Koorts notes that, while the company has a significant range of good standalone products that work well for many different applications, it is the engineering of a dewatering technology ecosystem, with products and solutions that evolve with the mine life, that assists operations in mitigating their water balances effectively.
Challenges, such as flooding, runoff and water seepage, particularly in underground mines, can result in dewatering being an expensive and a complex challenge; however, the removal of excess water from working areas is integral to allowing for continuous safe and productive excavation operations.
“There will always be water around mining operations and it is therefore best to implement a solution that balances this and removes enough water from the operations to allow them to continue safely,” Koorts adds, noting that mines aim to optimise their process and implement a complete solution, rather than buying just one piece of equipment.
“It is not just about the pumps, but rather, the systems around it,” he declares, highlighting the success of Weir Minerals Africa’s specialised pontoons and barges, which offer buoyancy, flexibility and mobility.
“All these solutions use a large variety of Minerals Africa’s engineered equipment,” Koorts comments, noting that the floating pump stations are designed to accommodate the entire Weir Minerals Africa dewatering product range, including valves, floating hoses, end-suction centrifugal pumps, horizontal split case pumps and vertical turbine pumps.
In addition to the structure and the dewatering pumps, Weir Minerals manufactures most of the on-board equipment and related components at its local manufacturing facilities in Johannesburg, with additional custom work including electronics, electrical and cabling forming part of the overall solutions package provided by the company.
A focused engineering approach enables the company to provide a solution that caters for specific site conditions that take into account consideration of both operational and maintenance requirements. This includes the types of pumps to be fitted, the associated pipework and structural configuration and the buoyancy of the pontoon as well as walkways between the pontoon and land.
“These solutions are custom-engineered and constructed specifically to meet the individual application and site needs,” he says, noting the diverse designs for different operations.
The company further partners with global giants for the supply of the installed motors.
Leveraging its regional experience and using engineers at the company’s offices in Isando, Johannesburg, Weir Minerals Africa has produced pontoon and barge designs that have been shared between regions.
The pontoon design allows for Weir Minerals’ equipment to float out over water bodies, such as tailings dams, for easier access.