Manufacturer to install new pumping solution at Chile mine

Locomotives manufacturer General Electric (GE) Mining is set to provide new pumpstation solutions for a mine in Chile

PUMPSTATION SOLUTION Locomotives manufacturer General Electric (GE) Mining is set to provide new pumpstation solutions for a mine in Chile

12th June 2015

By: Kimberley Smuts

Creamer Media Reporter


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Locomotives manufacturer General Electric (GE) Mining is set to provide new pumpstation solutions for a mine in Chile.

The new GE pumpstation solution uses a combination of existing GE products such as pumps engines and gearboxes.

“We have eight different business units and each has. . . off-the-shelf products available. GE Mining has. . . selected different products from different GE units and assembled the system,” explains GE Mining commercial director John Watson.

An iodine mine in northern Chile, located 65 km from the sea at an elevation of 1 200 m above sea level, required seawater for its operation. At this operation, GE Mining was awarded a contract for a high-efficiency system that required no electricity.

For this particular seawater pumping application, the 3 MW diesel engine from GE Mining’s locomotive range was selected. The engine is designed to operate for seven to eight years before it requires a major overhaul.

“We took world-class products and engineered them into a single system. We have many competitors who are specialists in pumps, engines and gearboxes, but not many have all those products available to them in one store,” says Watson.

Further, the GE remote pumpstation is equipped with a product condition-monitoring system, which is software that links to what GE calls its Industrial Internet that connects machines, data and people so that they can perform better, faster, safer and more reliably.

This monitoring system enables GE to use remote diagnostics and condition monitoring to track the operation of a machine. The system detects changes in the machines’ performance, and also has diagnostics that can detect the cause. Using the data, maintenance decisions can be made from the gathered intelligence enabling optimal scheduling of maintenance and repair, and lower total cost and unplanned component failure.

Watson notes that using the Industrial Internet enables GE to continuously monitor its systems and technology.
Chile GE is also supplying its Nuovo Pignone pump to one of the largest copper mines in the world, located north of Chile.

This project requires the pumping of desalinated water to the mine at a rate of 2.5 m3/s, over 180 km and 3 100 m of elevation change.

Installation is set to begin later this month.

“The equipment has been used in oil and gas applications for decades, as it is a well-proven, high-performance pump,” says Watson.

This is the first time that GE is using this type of pump on mining operations. It is, therefore, a very important milestone for the company.

Further, GE notes that challenges associated with this project include the high altitude of the mine and the long distance over which desalinated water has to be transported to the mine.

Meanwhile GE Mining provided a typical oil and gas surface pumping system (SPS) in a new mining setting to remove water at the bottom of a 1 700-m-deep underground mine in Canada. The nickel mine, in Sudbury, is happy with the performance of the GE Mining SPS pump solution.

The solution has been in operation for 13 months, delivering excellent performance and very low maintenance. Using the standard pumps, the mine was having repeated pump failures, which required extensive maintenance. The availability of spare parts was also limited, with long lead times.

GE Mining’s overall solution has lowered both the initial capital cost and operating costs.

Edited by Leandi Kolver
Creamer Media Deputy Editor



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