Stone, ceramics, and metals excavated from the earth’s crustare used to make tools, weapons, and other products. Since large-scale mining methods were developed, pumping water has been an integral part of the mineral extraction process, so much so that underground mining and dewatering are considered two sides of the same coin.
Real-Life Application for the Mining Industry
As excavations are created to access mineral deposits and ventilate mines, mining pumps play an increasingly critical role not only in the management of sub-surface water but also in the containment and disposal of liquid mine waste in order to avoid the contamination of local water sources.
Chemical processing and transfer
In the mining industry, raw materials such as mercury, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, cyanide, lead, and uranium are used to produce mining chemicals. Mercury and cyanide are used to separate gold from ore, while sulfuric acid is used to leach copper oxide minerals. The by-products from these chemical processes are highly toxic and need to be contained and transferred off-site for disposal.
Throughout the mining operation, slurry pumps play a crucial role in the transfer of slurry mixtures across the mine, whether these are slurries made up of process chemicals combined with minerals, or by-products of mineral extraction. The types of pumps used in mines that handle process chemicals and other corrosive fluids need to be robust, leak-proof, and rugged enough to be operated 24/7 without breaking down. For most demanding mining applications traditional centrifugal pumps may not be good enough as they tend to lose suction and efficiency when exposed to corrosive chemicals.
March Pumps offers a range of positive displacement pumps, magdrive pumps, and slurry pumps that are specifically built for transferring difficult-to-handle liquids without getting damaged, or the need for costly maintenance and replacement of parts.
Raw water supply and transfer
A mining site needs a constant and reliable source of clean water to keep its operations running. To transfer water from sources such as lakes, streams, and rivers to mining facilities for purposes of processing and cleaning, a robust water pumping system is required. The water intake stations must therefore be equipped with high-performance water pumps capable of handling large water inflows and running round the clock. At March Pumps, we carry a range of pumps for mining applications including self-priming, centrifugal pumps, and submersible pumps that are designed to meet the demanding water requirements of your mining facility.
Mine dewatering and groundwater control
Mine working areas that are found beneath the water table tend to get infiltrated with groundwater. If there are nearby bodies of water like rivers or lakes, flooding can pose a real threat. In such conditions, removal of water –also referred to as dewatering – becomes imperative to provide stable conditions for excavations and avoid risking your workforce’s safety. Identifying and putting in place a proper dewatering pump system is essential for sustainable mining operations.
Dewatering normally involves the collection of water, pumping, filtering, and discharge, and can be achieved in the following four ways:
Open Sump Pumping – Drains and sumps are built at one or more corners of the excavation. Groundwater is then collected in the drain and conveyed into the sump where it is disposed of using a sump pump. Three types of mining pumps can be used here, namely: a self-priming centrifugal pump, submersible pump, or vertical sump pump. Open sump pumping can be a simple and cost-effective way to dewater an open pit mine or excavation area and is suitable for most soil and rock conditions.
Well Point System – This pumping system involves the drilling of wells around the excavation area and positioning pumps inside these wells. The wells are connected by a header pipe to a centrally located suction pump which helps abstract the groundwater. The most suitable pump to use in this system is a positive displacement pump that is fully self-priming. It is a fairly cheap and flexible method of pumping underground water that works well under most soil conditions.
Deep Wells – In cases where mining uses deep excavation, dewatering can be done by digging deep wells in areas made up of sandy or gravel soils. The most suitable pump for deep well dewatering is a submersible pump, which is recommended fordeep wells up to 400 feet. The pump capacity in deep well dewatering will depend on the number of wells constructed and the site conditions.
Eductor System – This dewatering system features small diameter wells that are drilled to lower the groundwater level. The wells are equipped with an eductor pump that circulates pressurized water and helps draw out groundwater from the mine. This dewatering system is suited for low permeability soils such as very silty sands, silts, or clays and is preferred where the side slopes and soil in the excavation area need to be stabilized.
Mines typically produce two types of waste: mine water and sludge.
Wastewater – Mines usually produce acid water, a solution that forms when water flows over sulfur-bearing minerals. Management systems are therefore critical for reducing the amount of acid water outflows from mines, as well as treating the wastewater before it is recirculated into the environment.
Sludge – This is wastewater that contains solids and processing chemicals which make the liquid mine waste more viscous.
Whether you are handling acid water or sludge, you need a robust mining pump that can withstand the harsh conditions that acid water and other mining chemicals subject them to. A slurry pumps is the best mining pump to transfer slurries and mine tailings to locations away from the main mining operation. Unlike the traditional centrifugal pump that loses suction and efficiency when exposed to corrosive chemicals, slurry pumps are heavy-duty, require less maintenance and have a longer life span.
Water that is used to extract minerals can cause contaminants and other solids to build up in your process water supply. If unchecked, these contaminants can end up in local water sources with detrimental effects. On-site water treatment is usually the most viable option for dealing with process water and involves moving process water away from the main site operations with the use of mining water pumps. The types of pumps used in mines to transfer process water depend on properties like viscosity and acidity. March Pumps carries a range of slurry pumps and other types of pumps used in mining that are designed to withstand heavy-duty work and are capable of meeting your process water disposal needs.
Froth flotation tanks are indispensable in the recovery of valuable minerals such as gold, copper, zinc, and coal within the mining industry. During the process, ground ore is mixed with water to form a slurry, while chemical additives are used to separate hydrophobic materials – the minerals – from those with hydrophilic properties – the ores. The mixture of ore and water is transported to the mineral processing facility using a slurry pump where a surfactant or collector chemical helps to raise most of the targeted minerals to the surface of the slurry. Frothing is also used in other industries like the paper and pulp industry as well as in wastewater treatment.
The downside with frothing is that pumps, especially traditional centrifugal pumps, operate less efficiently when used to pump aerated liquids. This is because the air that gets trapped in the pump can at times cause air locking or air binding. March Pumps carries a range of pumps designed to handle the tough operating conditions that froth floatation processes impose.
During mining operations, activities like blasting, drilling, processing, and the transportation of equipment create a lot of dust that can become an operational bottleneck while also negatively impacting the health and safety of your personnel. Controlling dust enables you to not only meet the environmental and regulatory requirements, but it also helps reduce product losses. March Pumps provides a range of pumps for mining applications that help you effectively address your dust emission challenges while minimizing water usage and application frequency. Our highly effective magdrive pumps are designed to power water spray systems and keep dust to a minimum in your work site for smoother mining operations.
Why March Pumps are the Best Pumps to Transfer Mining Chemicals
At March Pumps we carry specialized pumps that make the transfer of mining chemicals easier. They are designed to withstand the difficult conditions that liquid mine waste and other slurries subject them to. Our USA-made, high-grade magnetic drive pumps and slurry pumps are made of durable materials to ensure the high performance and resiliency of your pumps for mining applications. Talk to us today for a free, no-obligation quote.