Oct 22, 2020 Mining blog

How to maximize pumping efficiency in mining

Diwakar Aduri
Diwakar Aduri
Product Manager, PG Pumps
Slurry pumps represent only 5% of all centrifugal pumps installed in the industry. Yet, this small segment, understandably, can represent 80% of the operating costs. However, if you look at how most mining facilities operate, too often the focus is only on optimizing grinding or extracting the ore. Consequently, it is very important to select and size slurry pumps to match the application and achieve sustained efficiency in mining operations.
Metso MD pumps in operation in a mining site.

Reliable and efficient slurry handling in mineral processing

Reliable slurry handling equipment is often referred to as the heart of a plant as it ensures smooth flow of the process. Slurry handling is vital in maximizing minerals processing plant’s productivity and efficiency. It plays a key role in mining processes involving water and other liquids.

On the other hand, insufficient slurry handling may result in bringing the whole minerals processing plant to a halt or leading to inefficiencies in important processes such as grinding, classification, separation, dewatering, and tailings handling. Even small improvements in slurry handling efficiency can have a drastic impact on profitability of mining operations.

Slurry pumps – a critical component to effective mill operations

For most mineral processing applications, slurry pumps represent a key component. The mining industry’s continuous drive to ramp up production from existing assets makes it important to view pumping solutions as one part of a much larger picture.

Slurry pumps transfer material across the whole concentrator plant in wet processes and are the heart of the mill circuit in the mine. If a slurry pump goes down, the processes of the refining of the ore goes down because you cannot move the crushed material from the beginning of the process any further along. Common reasons for premature mill duty pump breakdown include, misapplication of the product, sizing of the pump and selection of materials of construction. Although timely maintenance is also a key factor, maintenance friendly designs, such as the MD series pumps, make maintainability much easier and thus reduce its impact on service life.

Ensure the fit to your plant with 3D models
The most common Metso pumps and pump configurations are available in 3D for easy integration into your plant layout drawings.

However, achieving a right balance between sustained operations and optimized profitable performance is not an easy task. What could initially seem like an affordable piece of equipment, might quickly turn into excessive maintenance cost and downtime. A key consideration in selecting the right pump for your application is the Total Cost of Ownership, also commonly referred to as the TCO analysis. Our team can analyze your application and provide you with a summary report on your TCO and also guide you on minimizing your TCO.

A key to the mining industry becoming more cost effective has been the development of solutions that are more efficient and more resistant to the extremely abrasive mediums imposed by the process.

Deploying new engineered solutions

Demand for slurry pumps is increasing in coal, copper iron-ore, phosphate, and other mines globally. A rule of thumb when selecting a slurry pump is to look for the most robust and technologically advanced pump, in terms of performance, wear resistance, uptime and total cost of ownership.

In today’s mining industry, the mills and crushers are much larger than they once were as they must process more of the material to get the same amount of the desired ore. Consequently, the pumps have to get bigger. Metso Outotec’s mill discharge line is designed around today’s sized mills in order to efficiently accommodate the flows you would typically see.

Keeping the industry’s ever evolving needs in mind, Metso Outotec MD series pumps offer outstanding uptime and sustained efficiencies, best suited for highly abrasive slurries in grinding mill circuits. The MD series pumps have been designed for efficient operation and longest wear life to match the mill’s uptime.

Backed by latest in wear technology, the series also offers excellent resistance to abrasion and erosion. With the highest impeller aspect ratio in the industry and diverse size range with either metal or rubber lining, we ensure that you will always find the correct mill discharge pump for your process needs.