Yesterday I was inspecting a client’s underground mining site to find out more about the impact of Shotcrete fibres on their operation. I saw evidence that Shotcrete fibre mixed with wastewater has the potential to damage equipment well beyond the submersible dewatering pump.
In particular, I saw helical rotor screens fitted to the hoppers to try to prevent the fibres getting into these pumps as fibres getting into the pumps accelerated wear and affected pump reliability. I was also told that Shotcrete fibres on this mine had travelled from the underground dewatering system right through to the processing mill located kilometres away because the underground water is pumped to the mill to supplement process water on site.
The damage from Shotcrete has the potential to move through the entire wastewater management system of a mining project. It may get into the pumps downstream as well as the elaborate control equipment used in modern, sophisticated processing plants.
I could see that if we can help contain Shotcrete fibre at the underground source with the use of a submersible pump like JetGuard, we might be able to help prevent damage to other important equipment used in the mining operation.
The downstream damage prevention that might be achieved through using JetGuard pumps could add up to significant savings over time. This saving may start with the prevention of damage to the helical rotor pump. It then prevents damage to the centrifugal transfer pumps. The savings might even go as far as reduced damage and downtime for the processing control valve and other equipment back at the mill.
We’ve always understood that JetGuard submersible pumps may reduce production downtime. Until the site visit yesterday, I didn’t fully grasp the potential knock-on benefits and how they relate to so many other elements within the production system.
We already know that the use of Shotcrete offers an advantage in speeding up access to the face after blasting. What we are now becoming aware of is the other issues caused when Shotcrete fibre finds its way into equipment that wasn’t designed to handle it.
The JetGuard pump is designed to handle Shotcrete. Its design features reduce the amount of fibre that can get into the system. This helps to prevent damage and production delays associated with other equipment within the production process.