Dewatering for the Mining Industry: a Case Study

At Pump Solutions Australasia, we specialise in importing the finest pumps in the world. While we even offer pumps for homes and home construction, no industry is too large for us. One of our favourite industries is the mining industry. We have a lot of experience in providing a “one-stop” solution for the many different pumps needed in a high-quality mining operation.

While we never divulge any customer information, we found a great example of how pumps are used in the mining industry from Pump Industry, a web-based magazine. They recently published a great case study on just what it can take to supply pump solutions for a large mining project. We would like to tell you about it to give you an idea of what we can supply.

Dewatering for the Mining Industry

The McArthur River Zinc Mine

The McArthur River Mine is located in the the Northern Territory, at the Gulf Region, which is 45 kilometres south west of Borroloola. The site is next to the McArthur River. Water management for the site is extensive and expensive; the water management contract was awarded for a bid of $28 million to a firm called Intech.

Mining at the location started in 1995. It became an open pit development site in 2007-2008. Currently, it has a capacity of 5.5 million TPA (tonnes per annum) of ore. Production is currently at 800,000 dry metric TPA.

McArthur River Mining (MRM) currently produces 70% of the world’s high grade bulk zinc-lead-silver concentrate, making it the largest bulk producer in the world of zinc in concentrated form. It also produces 3% of all zinc resources globally. The concentrate is produced at the mine and transported by truck to the MRM Bing Bong loading facility. There, it is hauled onto a barge and goes off to sea.

Components of Water Management

The dewatering infrastructure consists of three main elements: shallow bore dewatering, underground dewatering and contaminated, raw and dirty ring mains.

The infrastructure for water storage or collection, transfer and discharge consists of reservoirs, the transport of dirty water between vessels and the transfer of contaminated water to holding ponds.

Seventeen different pumps were utilised: three mine dewatering pumps, five surface pumps, six bore pumps and three seal water pumps. All were selected using a number of important metrics to ensure that the right pumps were chosen for the right jobs.

Mine Dewatering Pumps

The mine dewatering pumps needed a flow rate of 180 l/s and a static head of 385 m. The materials had to be matched correctly to the fluid that was to be pumped. They went with a slim 187.4 mm motor diameter for more efficiency.

Bore Pumps

For nominal duty, the flow rate of the bore pumps measured 5 l/s at 150 m head with a projected maximum flow rate of 8 l/s. The pumps were all the same model, allowing the company to keep less spare pumps on hand.

Surface Pumps

The Surface Pumps fitted out with a nominal duty of 828 m3/hr with a 55 m total dynamic head. Maximum duty was 1224 m3/hr with the total dynamic head increased to 60 m. The pumps were required to draw water down to the level of the ponds. It was required to provide a nominal level of 6m below the maximum level.

The pumps were also required to be self-priming, thus easing the design.

What This Means for Your Business

If you are wondering what this means for you if you are just looking for some pumps for your business, it’s OK. Maybe none of this will have any direct use for your application, but for those in the mining industry, it’s a good indicator of what you may need for your facility.

At Pump Solutions Australasia, we provide high quality solutions to your problems. We import the best pumps in the world for every imaginable use in not only the mining industry, but construction, sewage treatment and food processing.

To learn more about what we can do for you, call Pump Solutions Australasia today: 1300 922 973.