Rapid sediment build-up in acid ponds can have dire results for mines as the reservoirs gradually lose their ability to store solution, impacting on both upstream and downstream processes.
The Slurry Blaster in operation at a copper mine in the DRC.
This is exactly what happened at a copper mine in the DRC when two of its acid ponds silted up completely. Previous attempts at solving the issue were not successful due to the abrasive nature of the silt and solution that needed to be removed from the ponds.
Focused on providing effective pumping and hydro mining solutions in the most challenging environments, Integrated Pump Rental was able to apply its latest technology and resolve the issue for the mine.
Lee Vine, MD of Integrated Pump Rental, says that the company’s Slurry Blaster hydro mining equipment solution was deemed the most appropriate for this harsh application.
This locally developed and manufactured equipment offers optimum performance coupled with reliability, and this, according to Vine, was exactly what was required to hydro mine the slime out of the ponds.
“Not all applications are the same and for this reason, and after assessing the specific requirements on site, we custom built a Slurry Blaster unit for this particular task,” Vine says.
All stainless steel components including pumps were used for the pontoon-mounted Slurry Blaster. The system comprises a 90 kW feed pump with float, two 30 kW slurry pumps for the removal of the slurry, a 200 m heavy duty hose and electric control panels for protection for the pumps .
The two acid ponds are identical; each 100 m by 50 m and 6 m deep. The unit operated at a 7 bar pressure and discharged material at 80 litres per second with a concentration by volume of 70 %. It took a month to clean each dam.
Integrated Pump Rental has an existing footprint of local partners in Africa and this ensures that the teams operating the equipment are familiar with local conditions.