AS mining gets deeper to provide access to ever diminishing supplies of minerals, dewatering is more in demand and the need to provide individual solutions to meet the unique operating characteristics of mines is greater.
|Weir Minerals has an extensive range of mine and process dewatering products.|
Weir global product manager for Dewatering Harvinder Bhabra says it is almost impossible to mine effectively in water and mud, making dewatering a vital factor at most mines.
Weir Minerals offers total dewatering solutions for entire operations and has an extensive range of mine and process dewatering products, including a large range of dewatering pumps, hydrocyclones, dewatering screens, valves, specialty hose, tailored pontoons and barges.
Harvinder Bhabra says that owing to the experience and expertise of staff, Weir Minerals is able to customise these solutions to suit the individual requirements of mine sites, wherever they are throughout the Asia Pacific region and around the world.
“It’s not just about product at Weir; we have core competencies in engineering enabling us to provide a total service, which also extends to service and maintenance.”
Short term demand for natural resources is subject to change depending on global economic circumstances, but fundamentally, as populations increase and urbanise, they will require greater quantities of mined commodities such as copper, gold and iron ore to meet demand from construction, industry and consumer goods.
Harvinder Bhabra says dewatering is one of the vital processes that ensure resources can be mined efficiently and effectively. “The abrasive process of turning rock into a valuable commodity means our equipment is exposed to significant wear and tear, and therefore robust equipment is needed for reliable operation. This process is supported by another trend - global ore grades are in decline which means more processing is needed to produce the same amount of raw commodity over time.
“Our expertise facilitates the processing of natural resources at mine sites around the world. It helps release oil and gas from some of the most challenging operating environments, and our critical components and services are instrumental in providing safe and effective operations across many industries across the world.
“As well as mining and minerals processing, our products and services are sought-after in many other industries, including sand and aggregates, construction, water and waste-water, chemicals and fertilisers, agriculture, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper and steel and marine engineering.”
Total dewatering solutions
Weir Minerals’ director of Dewatering and Fluid Transfer, Asia Pacific, Fred Purches, says Weir’s dewatering experts provide total solutions, drawing on their extensive engineering and application expertise. “Our dewatering engineers work with mine operators to understand the specific dewatering requirements of any mine site, be it in-pit or underground.
“It is not a one size fits all approach and we are not tied to any one solution. We understand that meeting the water in-flow requirements of a site is critical. We also know the importance of understanding the mine plan, the range of operating depths, as well as working with existing piping systems to ensure that dewatering equipment meets your specific site needs.
“While drawing water from open pit and underground mines is a crucial aspect of our role in the dewatering division, and the task that most people think about when the subject of dewatering comes up, we also tackle other issues relating to fluid movement and transfer, including moisture in tailings storage facilities which has potential to destabilise the facility.”
Asia Pacific an important region
Weir Minerals Dewatering business manager Peter Smit says the Asia Pacific region is very important to Weir as it represents a growth area for all parts of the business, including dewatering and fluid movement. “Each market in the region brings different challenges but we have experienced staff throughout which enable us to customise our solutions.
|Weir Minerals customises its solutions to suit individual requirements of sites wherever they are around the world.|
“There are about 162 staff members in the Asia Pacific dewatering division with representatives in all markets. We have a significant footprint in Indonesia but also have a presence in other APAC countries. Our teams understand that each site and region is unique and we therefore use local staff and local expertise to build our markets, taking into account the unique requirements present in different countries and markets.
“We must work to understand our customer requirements and work with them if we are to have any sort of positive impact. We must tailor our solutions to suit the environment in which we aim to do business. Weir does this in all its divisions,” he adds.
Fred Purches says, “I am very proud of the team we have in this division, which is typified by Peter Smit who has more than 30 years’ experience in this field. The engineering capabilities and experience of people like Peter enable us to make effective diagnosis of the fluid transfer issues facing miners throughout the varied Asia Pacific region. As well as having this wealth of knowledge and experience, we have a can-do team that wants to deliver solutions to help mining prosper and grow.”
Waste to Energy emphasis
There is an increasing emphasis on the concept of waste to energy throughout the mining cycle, Fred Purches says, and it is certainly an area Weir is concentrating on in dewatering. “It is important, particularly where water is in short supply, that we continue to develop technology to ensure that the water drawn out by dewatering becomes a resource for mining or even for other uses by communities surrounding the mine sites.
“Dewatering is a complex and expensive task so it makes a lot of sense to get more value from the water that is drawn out, rather than it just going to waste – it is increasingly important to manage water effectively.”
Innovation part of Weir DNA
“Innovation is very important”, Fred Purches says, “and Weir spends a lot of time and money on research and development which enables us to meet the industry’s ever changing requirements. It is important we are able to keep pace with the industry at present and to try and look after its future needs, even in terms of maintenance.
“Globally Weir places great emphasis on R&D and Weir Minerals Australia is the same. The company’s design centre of origin for dewatering and fluid movement is based in Australia and this team is able to leverage off Weir’s extensive footprint, the same as other Weir design teams are able to leverage off our footprint.”
|Weir Multiflo multi-stage equipment in an underground application.|
Harvinder Bhabra says a lot of companies talk about innovation but at Weir it is part of the operational DNA. The group was founded in 1871 by brothers James and George Weir, who created a new way to make steamships more efficient. Their commitment to curiosity, creative thinking and turning challenges into solutions remains evident in everything we do to this day. Weir’s engineers are dedicated to providing exceptional products and services that meet the rigorous demands of customers around the world.
|Servicing a Weir Multiflo MF385 at a Premier Gold open pit in Western Australia.|
“The superiority of our materials, designs and products sets us apart. Worldwide, our research and development and engineering teams work with the best academic talent and technology advancements to deliver longer plant life, extend maintenance cycles, reduce downtime and lower whole-life operating costs. Overseeing and driving our commitment to innovation is our Engineering Excellence Committee, where our best engineering minds work together to ensure Weir remains a global leader.
“At Weir, innovation is embedded into new product development. Our product and technology innovation focuses on developing equipment and services for our customers that improve resource efficiency and emissions performance, contribute positively to workplace safety, and enable lower operating costs.
“Our goals in this area align with our wider environmental, health and safety ambitions – to help our customers improve the operation of their sites. This is not just about durability, efficiency and safety, but also helping our customers improve the resilience of their processes and activities in the increasingly harsh environment in which many of their businesses operate.”
Harvinder Bhabra says Weir actively invests in research and development through its central research and development hub as well as through its network of academic research partners in some of the world’s leading universities. “This enables us to develop and exploit emerging technologies to create new products for our end markets and provide competitive advantages to our customers through leading edge technology.”
Weir’s Engineering Excellence Committee comprises senior engineering and technology leaders from around the business, including the Group Head of Technology, technology directors from each of the group’s three divisions, the business head of EnSci (Weir’s dedicated engineering services team), and the director and project manager of the Weir Advanced Research Centre. Its role is to ensure that Weir is sharing and implementing best practices across all of our engineering teams and, specifically, to push each of the group’s businesses to deliver leading-edge technology and innovation.
“Weir continues to invest in fundamental research and development in line with the corporate strategy of growing through innovation and technology development, with a focus on fast-moving data acquisition, storage and analysis, as this activity is critical in continuing to improve product operating performance, reducing environmental impact and lowering our customers’ total cost of ownership,” Harvinder Bhabra adds.
Weir celebrates 20 years of Cavex
IN 2016 Weir Minerals celebrated the 20th anniversary of one of its most iconic brands – the Cavex® hydrocyclone. “When the first Cavex hydrocyclone was introduced, the industry was changed forever,” said Weir Minerals global product manager for Cavex hydrocyclones. Debra Switzer.
|Weir Minerals’ Cavex hydrocyclones consistently demonstrate their superior throughput capacity at this mining operation.|
In 1996, a team of engineers from Warman International in Australia got together to develop the ‘next big thing’ in hydrocyclones. What they came up with was revolutionary.
The truly unique inlet geometry removed all sharp angles from the feed chamber, allowing slurry to move through the hydrocyclone smoothly, which greatly reduced wear while increasing its efficiency. The new generation of hydrocyclones easily delivered up to three times the wear life of the old technology. The streamline feed chamber is still in use today.
When Weir Group acquired Warman International in 1999, it brought with it a myriad of improvements and modifications designed to ensure Cavex hydrocyclones provide excellent wear life along with maximum productivity, regardless of the application.
In 2010, Weir Group acquired Linatex, which brought with it a range of highly specialised dewatering hydrocyclones and superior rubber products for lining. This was significant for Cavex hydrocyclones because it enhanced the portfolio and improved the hydrocyclone wear rates.
In 2015, Weir Minerals introduced the Cavex 700CVX hydrocyclone, designed specifically to meet the demands of Weir Minerals’ customers and which has been proven to achieve up to 50% higher throughput capacity than other competitor cyclones in the 26-inch diameter range due to its larger inlet and vortex finder configuration.
“Product development never stops at Weir Minerals. Over the past two decades our team of engineers have developed advanced lining technology for ultra-heavy duty applications, to withstand the demands of high volume abrasive materials,” said Debra Switzer.
Weir Minerals is set to redefine hydrocyclone efficiency again with the development of the new Synertrex® monitoring system. The latest technology in remote monitoring systems allows users to obtain operational data in real time, to ensure optimum performance and efficiency of their mill circuit.
Today, there are more than 26,000 Cavex hydrocyclones operating throughout the globe, making up more than a quarter of the global market share. Every single one of these hydrocyclones is backed by the extensive Weir Minerals service team.
Lewis Pumps celebrates 125 years
ONE of Weir Minerals’ long standing brands - Lewis® pumps – celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2016. In this time Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps has developed an international reputation in the design and manufacture of pumps and valves in the sulphur, sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid industries.
“It is an honour to be celebrating 125 years of developing and manufacturing our Lewis pump range in this ever-changing industry. We have witnessed many challenges and opportunities throughout our history and continue to advance to meet the demands of our markets,” said Weir Minerals, divisional director EHS/VCE Bob Elliott, the former managing director of Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps.
In 1891 Charles S Lewis founded a company called Chas S Lewis and Co, a family business that adopted alloy customisation methods to furnish custom OEM pump lines to the beer pasteurisation and bottle cleaning industries. In 1906 the company began manufacturing pumps in-house and in 1914 developed and manufactured its first sulphuric acid pump, beginning a specialisation which continues today. In 1975 the company manufactured its first sulphuric acid valve.
The company became part of the Weir Group in 1994 with Weir’s well established manufacturing excellence programs implemented at Lewis resulting in even greater level of quality and performance.
In 2012, the first Lewis molten salt pump was manufactured. These highly engineered centrifugal pumps are integral to molten salt systems circulation in the solar power industry.
“We have developed a full range of pumps engineered for the unique requirements of molten salt. With over 100 years of experience focused on high density and high temperature we have been able to develop a pump which has a superior feature set to provide high reliability and low operating costs,” said Bob Elliott.
Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps still manufactures the wide range of Lewis pumps and valves, and has made significant investment to develop and enhance its product line to better serve the industries in which it operates.
“In recent years we have added gate, globe and butterfly valves with our proprietary Lewmet alloy, proven to be highly effective in sulphuric acid pumps,” said Weir Minerals Lewis Pumps vice president sales and marketing Ken Black.
With customers in more than 100 countries, careful manufacturing planning, identifying the most requested spare parts and ensuring stock is constantly replenished for the needed items, is the key focus for satisfying customers.