Pumps supplier to commission new slurry pumps at Gauteng mine

30th January 2015

Pumps supplier to  commission new slurry pumps at Gauteng mine

DEWATERING CAPABILITY The Battlemax 8/6FFPP high-pressure, high-head pumps will be integrated with the rest of the dewatering pump system at a Gauteng gold mine

Slurry pumps supplier and pumps solutions specialist Pump & Abrasion Technologies plans to start commissioning the 23 new Battlemax 8/6FFPP high-pressure, high-head pumps it supplied to a Gauteng-based gold mine, this month.

Pump & Abrasion Technologies transported the pumps to the mine for installation in the last quarter of 2014, following the project sign-off at the end of October.

“The newly installed pumps will be integrated with the rest of the dewatering pumps system, such as the slurry dams, pipework, valves, and variable speed drives,” Pump & Abrasion Technologies GM Francois de Villiers says, highlighting that this project is a first for the company in terms of using its new high-pressure pumps.

Upon commission of the project, the company determined that the previous pumps employed at the Springs mine operated outside its design specifications, which caused the pumps to fail regularly, De Villiers says.

He further points out that, overall, these pumps’ dewatering performance was not up to standard, which resulted in “high downtime and exorbitant maintenance costs”.

The depth of the mine shaft necessitated a high pressure solution and, therefore, required a pump that could cater for 50 bar to 60 bar operating pressures.

“To meet this specific head requirement, Pump & Abrasion Technologies needed to recommend a pump that could withstand that amount of pressure, while simultaneously pumping the head,” adds De Villiers.

To achieve all specifications, the company took seven 8/6FFPP pumps and connected them in series to form a train. In the end, there were three trains of seven pumps each, as well as two spare pumps installed.

Depending on instantaneous conditions, a maximum of two trains can operate simultaneously, he says.

Since the 8/6FFPP pump falls into the high pressure and high head range, Pump & Abrasion Technologies now has the ability to cater for dewatering in very deep mines without intermediate pumpstations, De Villiers notes.

“In light of this, Pump & Abrasion Technologies is in the process of expanding the Battlemax range to not only include the 8/6FFPP, but also 6/4EEPP and 4/3DDPP high-pressure pumps. Over time, we will also introduce an eight inch pump – the 10/8GP pump,” De Villiers says.

He adds that, if the company registers a market need, it will develop high-pressure pumps up to 16/14.

Maintaining Activity
While the past year weighed heavily on the South African mining industry, particularly as a result of the five-month-long platinum-sector strike, coupled with low commodity prices and volatile exchange rates, one of the company’s key focus areas was to maintain activity levels during the downturn, says De Villiers.

“We achieved double-digit growth in what was a deeply depressed market. We created a scalable business that can meet larger customers’ requirements effortlessly, we established a market-centric inventory profile, and we became more entrenched with our loyal customers,” he says, adding that the company has gained greater awareness and acceptance in the market.

Further, the company has registered increasing enquiries from engineering, procurement and construction project houses, as well as projects stemming from the ongoing expansion into Africa. “All of this is significantly satisfying and positions us for continued strong growth in 2015 and beyond,” De Villiers notes.

Meanwhile, the company entered into several strategic agreements last year, such as its partnership with African pumps company TriPump, which will represent Pump & Abrasion Technologies’ Battlemax range in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Ghana.

This partnership provides local presence and customer support in these regions, and will also give Pump & Abrasion Technologies the leverage to springboard into other African territories.

Pumps & Abrasion Technologies has also strengthened existing relationships with distributors in neighbouring countries, such as Zimbabwe and Botswana, where it is seeing substantial growth, while it has strengthened ties with several blue chip customers through tailor-made supply agreements.

In addition to being involved in several significant projects in the past year, the company completed a project for a Zambian copper mine – where it supplied 16 8/6E pumps in less than two weeks.

Moreover, the company concluded a 30% black ownership deal, “a significant development in the continued evolution of the business”, De Villiers notes. Black ownership is a key requirement of the South African Mining Charter and is critically important for large-scale mining customers in South Africa.

De Villiers highlights that a key objective for this year is to drive customer service, internally and externally, while maintaining its business ethos.

“We have rolled out an internal campaign called ‘No Problem’, which has a strong customer service culture at its core. Our aim is to entrench this mindset in all aspects of the business,” he concludes.