New hose pumps improve reliability at Brazilian copper mine

Jon Lawson

New hose pumps deliver step-change improvements to reliability at Brazilian copper mine

Large numbers of new heavy-duty hose pumps have recently been installed at a copper mining company in Northern Brazil.

An initial prospective order for pumps at this site was lost to competitive hose pumps. However following repeated hose failures and lengthy downtime, the mine’s operators opted to install 32 Bredel hose pumps from Watson Marlow Fluid Transfer Group (WMFTG) as part of the next investment phase.

The success of that subsequent installation prompted the replacement of all 40 of the competitive pumps with Bredel models. There are now 84 Bredel hose pumps spread across the company’s two copper sites.

Accuracy and reliability

The mine requires pumps in its flotation area for chemical metering. This is an important part of the mining process that demands both accuracy and reliability, not to mention pumps capable of working 24/7. Precision is particularly important as the chemicals are not only expensive to purchase, but their transportation to this remote area, is also costly. Wastage has a direct impact on profitability and spillage could have a negative impact on this environmentally aware company.

The competitor pumps originally installed ran into difficulty – typically through hose failures – when pumping chemicals that include sodium sulphate, xanthate, methyl-isoamyl alcohol and dithiophosphate. Indeed, the company reports that it needed to replace hoses as frequently as every month, due to chemical attack and poor pump installation advice.

This experience is in stark contrast to the support offered by WMFTG. Despite the fact that the mine is located in a remote and densely forested area of Brazil, the customer reports that WMFTG has offered ongoing project assistance throughout the specification, installation and commission phases. In addition, WMFTG will shortly be delivering training to the maintenance and process teams at the customer’s second mine.

42 pumps at each mine

Today, the mine’s operators have 42 Bredel pumps at each of their two mines - both operate at flow rates of between 22 and 540L/h.

Since the installation of the first pumps, none of the hose problems previously encountered with the competitor pumps have been reported.

In addition, the accuracy and reliability of Bredel pump technology is helping the company keep chemical costs under control and ease-of-maintenance is cited as a further benefit.

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