Amid cost balancing; global economy fluxes; revolving regulatory changes; geopolitical, civil and social pressures; and the effects of climate change, water management is emerging as the pre-eminent sustainability issue in the global energy and mining resource industries, says pumps manufacturer Verder Pumps MD Darryl Macdougall.
He reiterates that water has always been a fundamentally important resource across all mining and quarrying developments and industrial operations.
“As water scarcity becomes a reality, mining companies face numerous civil and environmental pressures and need to proactively review the impact of their upstream and downstream operations on the availability and quality of this non-renewable resource.”
This includes having a deeper understanding of where the mine sources its water from, how the mine disposes of or recycles the water, what the water is being used for, potential losses or gains and the related risks and opportunities – at corporate and site level.
Consequently, there is steady demand for Verder Pumps’ solutions, “particularly as mining companies are increasingly looking for innovative solutions that will reduce a mine’s reliance on and use of water, thereby increasing the delivery of processed product”, Macdougall says.
Verder Pumps South Africa’s peristaltic hose pumping technology is an emerging technology in high specific gravity and dewatered slurry applications.
The peristaltic pump technology can reduce process water needs and deliver significant water savings while contributing to higher production capacity and a reduction in maintenance and operating costs.
He explains that the peristaltic or hose pumping technology has evolved from familiar lower-pressure, low-flow medical devices into heavy-duty, medium-pressure industrial pumping solutions, and that the pumps “mimic the well-proven principle of peristalsis found in the human body”.
Hose pumps are essentially a simple technology using a specially designed, re-enforced rubber hose that is repeatedly compressed by a rotating pressing shoe and then allowed to relax or respite.
This action results in a simple positive displacement pumping mechanism with a powerful, high vacuum suction, dry priming action, says Macdougall.
The Verderflex peristaltic hose and tube pumps are the ideal solution for “difficult-to-pump” liquids or demanding applications and are manufactured in the European Union (EU) at ISO 9001-, 14001- and 18001-accredited facilities.
These range from smaller vending machine original-equipment manufacturer pump modules and precision metering tube pumps to some of the world’s largest high-pressure hose pumps pumping dense, solids-laden, mining thickener slurries and highly abrasive, viscous or corrosive liquids.
Macdougall explains that the solutions are designed to pump slurry at a higher specific gravity at a steady flow rate, which will significantly reduce the amount of water to product ratio, thereby increasing the per tonnage of product being transported.
“Therefore, these pumps are more cost effective, as they require less initial investment, less overall maintenance costs and downtime – and provide mines with a higher return on capital and easier operations,” he asserts.
Using these pumps in the mining industry is beneficial in that they promote the use of less water, as the pumps can save (dilution) water, as well as use less space and power than other conventional pumps.
Other benefits include less risk of chemical leakages, which means there is less chemical waste or damage and, thereby, less pollution and waste impacting on the natural environment.
Elaborating on the improvements of the Verderflex hoses, Macdougall explains that the hose can reach up to 15-million compressions during its lifetime. This maximises the hose life by optimising the fatigue strength and, owing to hose design, the Verderflex hose offers many advantages.
Verder Pumps’ Verderflex positive displacement pumps are used with a variety of fluids. The fluid within every pump is contained within a flexible hose or tube fitted inside the pump casing. The hose or tube is the pump’s only consumable part.
Packo stainless steel centrifugal pumps and the Verderair air-operated double-diaphragm pumps also form part of Verder’s product offering.
Packo stainless steel centrifugal pumps are used in many industrial sectors including the food, brewery, pharmaceuticals and general industry. The mechanical surface polish degree determines where a Packo pump can be applied. The Packo industrial stainless steel pumps are highly efficient and have a low net positive suction head, or NPSH, value. All industrial stainless steel pumps are robust and easy to maintain. They are characterised by their modular design with interchangeable standard components.
Further, the Verderair double-diaphragm pumps are manufactured in the EU, can also be used with a variety of fluids and are the best solution for applications that are of an abrasive or corrosive nature. They can also be used for very sticky and viscous liquids or liquids containing solids.
The Verder diaphragm pumps use a quick acting air valve technology.
The series is available with specified food-grade certificates, solid machined heavy-duty pumps, hygienic series, and electrically driven double-diaphragm pumps.
Verder Pumps’ peristaltic pumping solutions can also be used for the dosing of reagents in flotation plants, as well as flocculant and lime dosing in mine water treatment plants.
Macdougall highlights the installation of the Verderflex pumps, hoses and tubes undertaken at one of the larger platinum concentrators at the Mogalakwena mine complex, in Limpopo. The installation was completed in 2008 and upgraded in 2018.
The platinum concentrator at Mogalakwena uses a duty and standby pair of the larger high-pressure hose pumps, the Verderflex VF125, for each thickener to transfer and re-circulate the chromium platinum slurry at a specific gravity of 1.8 with an ore throughput of 75 t/h.
Consequently, the water requirement is reduced to less than 19 t/h, or 164-million litres a year, which is a reduction of 90%, or a yearly saving of more than R48.79-million.
Verder conducts research and development on an ongoing basis to improve hose life and, thereby, reducing the total cost of ownership of the pumping system, Macdougall concludes.