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Planning key to effective implementation

INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS Weir Minerals offers a large portfolio of products to customers for an integrated dewatering solution

INSTALLATION PROWESS Envirotech Spiroglide multistage dewatering pump set installed at a platinum mine

MULTIFLO MUDFLO The Multiflo Mudflo submersible pump engineered for abrasive dewatering applications

MARNUS KOORTS By understanding potential water problems, the company designs tailored solutions to anticipate and mitigate disruptions caused by water accumulation

2nd February 2024

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

     

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Planning and site-specific requirement evaluations can see comprehensive solutions deployed to assist mining operations to overcome significant challenges in water management that can disrupt activities if not addressed properly, reports mining technology company Weir Minerals Africa pumps GM Marnus Koorts.

He explains that mine pumping and dewatering issues often arise out of inappropriate planning during the design phase of mining operations.

“The potential for water-related disruptions is often considered a far-fetched notion, leading to inadequate attention during the design process.”

However, Koorts notes that in regions such as West Africa, where extreme rainfall can exceed one meter a day, the impact on openpit mining operations can be substantial, turning mine pits into deep pools, thus disrupting mining activities.

Without proper management, these water issues can significantly upend activities, Koorts stresses, adding that Weir Minerals Africa recognises and places extra emphasis on the importance of evaluating dewatering requirements, taking into account the specifics of mining and quarry sites.

He explains that addressing water management requires a site-specific approach, considering the unique challenges presented by openpit and underground mining, including rain, seepage and aquifers.

“By understanding potential water problems, the company designs tailored solutions to anticipate and mitigate disruptions caused by water accumulation. Weir Minerals’ proactive approach ensures that its dewatering solutions align with the unique challenges presented by each mining site,” Koorts explains.

A cornerstone of Weir Minerals’ strategy is the development of a comprehensive, flexible and reliable dewatering plan, which is designed to remove excess water from working areas, safeguarding both operational continuity and the safety of personnel.

Koorts emphasises the adaptability of the company’s solutions, ensuring they can respond swiftly to changing conditions, such as unexpected heavy rainfall, to prevent operational stoppages and safety hazards.

Customisation is thus a key theme in Weir Minerals’ approach to water management.

“Through thorough assessments, considering geological formations, water table levels and aquifer presence, we ensure that our solutions effectively address the unique challenges presented by each mining site,” he says.

Water characteristics, including chemical composition levels, temperature, corrosiveness, abrasiveness and solids content, play a critical role in the selection of appropriate equipment for effective water transport, advises Koorts. Overlooking these factors can result in rapid wear and tear or, even worse, the solution not working, leading to costly downtime, he stresses.

“By considering the nuances of water composition, the company designs robust dewatering solutions that ensure optimal performance.”

Weir Minerals’ dewatering systems go beyond pumps, and involve various critical components such as drive units, control systems, valves, skids and discharge infrastructure, such as piping.

The integration of these components is meticulously managed to achieve optimal system performance, Koorts adds, noting that Weir Minerals adopts a holistic approach, “considering the synergy of these elements to prevent potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies within the water management infrastructure”.

Therefore, effective collaboration with customers involves understanding their goals and future plans, says Koorts. “Educating customers on potential water-related challenges and offering holistic solutions can prevent small inquiries from turning into large, complex projects.”

Collaboration with original-equipment manufacturers, such as Weir Minerals, which specialise in dewatering solutions, is “paramount” for effective water management in mining environments. Collaborative partnerships ensure that dewatering solutions seamlessly align with site conditions and operational requirements.

“By evaluating dewatering requirements, crafting adaptive plans, customising solutions to site conditions, considering water characteristics and collaborating closely with mining operators, Weir Minerals’ proactive and tailored approach sets the standard for effective water management in the mining industry,” Koorts concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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