Dewatering solution for the shifting mining landscape

Siobhan Doyle

A novel pump solution aims to meet the evolving dewatering needs of the industry.

It is no secret mine operations are harsh environments with water that contain abrasive and corrosive liquids. Because of this, coupled with the increase of flooding that affects the potential working depth of such mines, operators must have dewatering systems in place to remove any excess groundwater from working mining areas.

Many mine operators rely on dewatering pumps to keep their operations productive and safe for their workers, neighbours, and the environment. And as mines continue to expand and reach greater depths and widths, so does the demand for more reliable dewatering solutions.

“Mines and quarries are getting deeper and larger in footprint in order to access deeper ore deposits as well as deposits further from the initial mining area,” says Chris O’Brien, group product manager at water solutions provider Sykes Group. “The implication of going deeper is operating below the water table resulting in increased ground water inflow in the mining area.”

O’Brien adds that mines and quarries are also getting wider and longer, with companies increasing their footprint, which also subjects the mining area to heavy rainfall as well as the inflow of ground water.

“The catchment area, sumps and discharge points for the ground water vary from one mine to another which is why it is important to have a range of pumps which can provide higher flow rates and heads to ensure consistent access to the mining and quarry sites,” he says.

Breathing innovation

The extraction industry has birthed many innovations in its quest to find more reliable dewatering pumps, with the 1698 steam engine developed by Thomas Savery being one of the earliest. Today, Sykes is one of many who continue to develop dewatering pumps that operate in mines and has recently launched its latest innovation: Sykes and Primax XH250.

O’Brien says: “The Sykes and Primax XH250 steps in to address this challenge by delivering higher heads and flow rates and boasts a head capability of 200l/s at 220m or 250l/s at 200m which alleviates the need for multi-stage booster pumps.”

The pump’s design incorporates several key features to enhance its longevity and performance, including extraordinary shaft stiffness ratios, multiple priming options, advanced bearing arrangements, and sealing solutions, according to Sykes.

Its inclusion of front and rear wear plates also allows operators to make fine adjustments to the impeller-wear plate clearance, enabling them to restore pump efficiency without the need for extensive overhauls.

Furthermore, the XH250 has a versatile drive: operators have the choice for the pumps to have diesel or electric drive configurations, and they have the option to mount the pumps on skids, trailers, or pontoons for ease of movement around site as dewatering needs dictate.

Recent Issues