Increasing pressure to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) has seen many mining operations review their water management strategies. Integrated Pump Rental reports that this has led to increased enquiries about its locally manufactured solutions that mitigate the challenges of silted process water ponds.

Ruaan Venter, development manager at Integrated Pump Rental, says there is now a more proactive stance being taken on the monitoring of these water reservoirs.

He says this is most encouraging as Integrated Pump Rental has been calling for a more systematic approach to the monitoring of process ponds. “Apart from the fact that South Africa is a water scarce country, we have always maintained that the proactive monitoring and regular desilting of process water ponds will save customers in the long run.”

Adding to that challenge of water shortages is the need for mining operations to reduce their reliance on municipal water supplies. This means that efficient monitoring of process water ponds is critical in terms of recycling and reuse of water for the plant and other purposes on a mine.

Ongoing monitoring of process water ponds will facilitate desilting activities on a rotational basis. This will eliminate the disruption of unexpectedly having a pond out of service.

Venter adds that the economic value of the minerals in the silt should also not be forgotten and this material can be pumped back into the plant for reprocessing. The value claimed from retreating the silt can, in many instances, pay for the pond cleaning activity.

“Taking this concept one step further, we have found that mines are investing in their own SlurrySucker equipment,” Venter says.

The SlurrySucker is was developed by Integrated Pump Rental for applications where the water retention and water holding capacity of process ponds in threatened. It is also ideal for the dredging and cleaning of water capture areas where silt or slimes has become an issue.

This innovative dredge unit needs only a 400 draught of water above the sediment for the floating unit to operate. A dewatering pump takes the top layer of water and feeds it down to the dredge-head, where the slurry is agitated so it can be pumped out.

“Our SlurrySucker is available for outright purchase which is a popular option currently, but we also offer the unit on a rental or project agreement where our team will conduct the work for the end-user,” Venter concludes.

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