Reduce Your Mining Maintenance Costs By Selecting A Reliable Slurry Pump

Audex pump sited in mine water


Pumps are a vital part of mining, often making a significant impact on a mine’s feasibility. As energy costs – financial and environmental – are at the forefront of today’s mine operators, let’s look at the total lifetime costs of pumps and how to improve these. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, total pump usage accounts for 20% of the world’s energy needs, even more so for pump-reliant heavy industries such as mining.

What Are The Costs Of Mining Pumps?

Total costs for capital equipment, such as pumps are often referred to as Life Cycle Costs (LCC), or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and are far more impactful than the initial purchase price. Direct TCO includes designing, building, and commissioning the pump, its energy usage and maintenance, and finally its end-of-life decommissioning and recycling.

Indirect costs of pump ownership can include the cost of downtime, which will vary from mine to mine, based on the cost of lost production and process interruption. Factors that influence the downtime are often outside of the mining operator’s control; for instance, specialist parts or knowledge might be required, or whether the pump can be maintained in place or needs access to lifting equipment.

It’s with these issues in mind that Atlantic Pumps focuses on simplicity and speed, specifying effective pump systems and optimal servicing solutions for maximum uptime. Utilising interchangeable parts for pump manufacturing, and holding £6+ million worth of pumps and pump spare parts in their central UK location, they have a name for fast service.

Mining pumps have a heavy task, transferring large volumes of groundwater, or slurries containing suspended solids, to a high head height, often operating 24/7. A desk-based procurement study might look at a pump’s performance and purchase price and be tempted to pick out the cheaper-looking solution.

The issue here is that new pump performance data can often be quoted based on clean water in ideal conditions, before the pump takes any wear and tear. Unless the pump is designed for a heavy-duty application such as a mine water pump, real-life statistics can fall far short. The rushed decision based on a limited view can soon turn into a costly incident, or high energy wastage ongoing.

Understanding all the component parts of operating a pumping system over time enables a Life Cycle Analysis process, and guides mining pump buyers in making an informed decision.

SlurryPro and Audex mining pumps are ideal for transporting mine water and are designed for full uptime in challenging working conditions. Being designed and built to handle abrasive slurries, they are robust machines.

The pump might be the beating heart, but the system’s efficiency is affected by the piping materials and design. Taking the time to consult with a specialist mine water management consultant and designing the overall pumping system for better TCO will result in improved ROI and long-term sustainability; keeping your investors, directors and maintenance engineers happy.

Mining Pump Cost Breakdown

If we are to reduce the operating and maintenance cost of mining pumps, then selecting a reliable slurry pump is well worth the extra thought and considered investment. Studies have shown that the initial cost of a pump is typically only 10% of the total lifetime cost, with energy use accounting for over 30%.

Mining Pump Maintenance

Pump maintenance cost tends to be mostly made up of labour and downtime. Obviously, the most robust mining pumps will go longer between servicing/breakdown (MTBF, or mean time between failure) when compared to standard water pumps. Simple, straightforward designs will mean fewer moving parts to wear, whilst interchangeable, off-the-shelf parts cost less than specialist components. The addition of a sliding base is an example of straightforward innovation; it speeds up the inspection and servicing of SlurryPro split-case centrifugal pumps, whilst reducing manual handling and lifting risks too.

Design And Specification

Mine water pumps are constructed with wear-resistant materials, such as hardened alloys or rubber, to withstand the abrasive nature of slurry and stone-laden mine water. Consider factors like impeller design, sealing mechanisms, and material compatibility to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
For most mining scenarios, an experienced pump manufacturer will be able to keep design costs to a minimum, although its important to consider the dewatering system as a whole and not just the individual pump units. As part of the Intrax Group, Atlantic Pumps have global mine-pump system experience with successful solutions developed for mines in South America, Australia and Europe.

And finally,

Product longevity and end-of-life recycling are becoming increasingly important for sustainability. By choosing a robust, reliable mining pump, that can be easily serviced with readily available spare parts, means you’ll stand to get many years of payback.

Atlantic Pumps manufacture mine pumping systems on the principles of “Genuine Care, Speed & Simplicity, Commitment to Excellence and Reliability (Doing what we say we’ll do)”

At our central England pump servicing hub we supply spare parts for both our own manufactured pumps and other mining pump brands, offering fast service and delivery throughout the UK. Speak to us about any of your mining water management needs, from high-head slurry transfer to water filtering and discharge.

Call 0800 118 2500, email or contact us via WhatsApp on 07537 149 180.