In this interview, a Supply Co-ordinator for a West Australian underground mine discusses switching to PumpEng as the supplier for underground submersible dewatering pumps. He also gives feedback on a recent trial of the JetGuard pump.
What were the problems you were having with the old submersible pumps?
We weren’t getting significant life out of the old pumps that we’ve been using. They were failing prematurely, or we were having issues with supply, which was causing issues with pump availability. It was affecting our mining cycles.
Can you describe what was happening?
It meant that we aren’t able to get access to headings due to water. That was the biggest issue. We are operating at the bottom of the mine at a decline face, so that’s where the water ends up. We need to be able to clear that as quickly as possible so we can get access. That is one of the most important things that we deal with. We need to be able to get rid of the water in a timely manner.
What sort of delays were you experiencing?
The delays came from the process of getting a new pump in there. This was dependent on availability of equipment and availability of staff. It also depended on whether you’ve got to go back to the surface to get a pump or whether they’re sitting in a pump station underground where you can switch out pumps quickly. You can be looking at a process of one to three hours depending on where your back up pumps are stored.
Delays create pressure. You need to be able to get your development cut on the ground as fast as possible. That is what we are trying to achieve. Having issues with water and not being able to get access to those headings as quick as we can obviously affects what’s happening underground.
In underground mining the faster you can turn over your declines the better. That is what you’re trying to achieve. If you have 2 or 3 hours downtime on the jumbo because you can’t get access to a face that puts a lot of pressure on everyone underground.
Why did you choose PumpEng pumps?
We wanted to avoid those delays. We also liked their fixed rate service agreement.
How many pumps do you have at the moment?
We have twenty PumpEng Raptor pumps on site and they’ve been very good. Since we’ve changed over our suppliers to PumpEng, we’ve haven’t had issues with downtime or anything else. The pumps all seem to be lasting a lot longer.
We’re currently trialling a Jet Guard pump. It has been exceptional in terms of performance against any other submersible pump that I’ve ever used. What we have asked it to pump over the past 8 months and the amount of fines that have gone through it, it is by far the best I’ve ever seen.
Where do you use them?
We use them in all of our sumps and headings.
What are the teams saying about them?
They say they’re very good. Since we’ve switched over everyone’s happy with them. We seem to be getting more life out of them. We’re not having issues of changing over pumps all the time.
In the past, we were having issues where we’re put down a brand new pump, and it would fail within an hour or two. This was obviously very frustrating for the guys underground. I believe that was to do with the quality of the repairs that are getting done. That is not happening anymore.
How would you describe PumpEng customer service?
The relationship that we have with PumpEng and the service is very good. The guys are on site if you need anything urgently or something out of the ordinary happens they’re a phone call away. The boys have pumps available. There are no shortages. If something needed to happen, they would get in the ute and drive them to site, so that’s one of the biggest reasons that we went with them as well.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about switching to PumpEng for their pumps?
I’d tell them that they won’t look back. There’s a lot of different suppliers out there. A lot offer a similar product, but regarding quality, customer service, reliability, no one would look back after switching over to PumpEng.
Another important thing was that fixed rate service agreement, especially in a contract mining company like us. Knowing what your monthly pump cost is going to be at the start of the month means you can work out budgets. That is a maximum advantage for us.