Valves and allied product supplier Macsteel Fluid Control understands that water is a strategic natural resource for South Africa and for the mining sector and, as such, equipment reliability, water resource management and operational efficiency are essential in ensuring sustainable, long-term success.
Macsteel Fluid Control’s business approach focuses on providing a complete solution rather than simply selling valves. It prefers to become involved at the planning stages of a project so that it can assist mine engineers on the proper selection of equipment and the layout of valve stations to ensure the system is designed for efficiency as well as reliability, explains Macsteel Fluid Control product sales specialist Jan Greyling.
However, this is not always possible, and Macsteel Fluid Control is often called on to analyse existing problematic systems and to remedy the situation.
The most common scenario that the company encounters is clients using cost as the driving factor in materials selection in the design stage. In such cases, installed pipes with a lower pressure rating than required burst regularly, owing to poor design, pressure reduction stations (PRV) failing or the valves failing to consistently regulate pressure.
In some instances, because of added wear on the components of the poorly designed system, the PRV stations are only stable for about seven to 12 days, he notes.
“Water resource management at mining sites is essential in ensuring operations are not disrupted. If the water supply is interrupted, normal mining activities can’t continue, which will prevent the ‘blast’ of the day from being completed, resulting in a loss of production and revenue,” Greyling says.
The company believes that providing innovative and suitable solutions is crucial in ensuring continuity and sustainability, especially in changing environments.
Macsteel Fluid Control has implemented many solutions of this nature for numerous mines and contributed to the reduction of operating expenditure by decreasing the water and energy costs.
Its water management systems can also produce quality water that can be reused for the underground operations, resulting in the mine being better equipped to face environmental challenges that emerge as the mine’s life progresses.
“We are about selling solutions and our approach of looking beyond what the client thinks they need, to understanding what they actually need – and addressing that challenge – has put us in good stead with our mining customers and continues to do so,” concludes Greyling.