Aug 7, 2019 Go with the flow

Valves in minerals processing – ensuring optimal performance

Metso Communications
Metso Communications
At a minerals processing plant, the valve installations in slurry, utility and severe service applications may total as much as 10,000 units. This is a huge number of individual valve installations, impacting overall process efficiency, safety and the total cost of ownership. Metso’s experts Ville Kähkönen and Heikki Kärki shared their insights into the opportunities afforded by mining valve technology developments in an interview with International Mining.
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In many regions, most of the economical ore has been exploited, and the chemistry and processing of ore is becoming more demanding. Along with the need to run processes for longer periods without interruption, this sets new challenges for the whole process flow and related equipment, including valves. 

To get the most out of the valves in minerals processing, we see four key areas where more emphasis is needed:

  • The traditional way of thinking, i.e. always using the same valve types and following “run-to-failure” mindset, needs to be replaced by careful analysis, selection and predictive maintenance of the valves used in each application.
  • Lessons from other industries can help make a difference – e.g. petrochemical and refining industries use similar valve products as the mining industry. We can exploit the available data to the benefit of the mining industry.
  • Embracing automation and digitalization offers significant opportunities to improve equipment and flow control performance in the mining processes.
  • A focus on valve body and seat material selection helps in selecting the most economic valve with the best performance and corrosion resistance for each application and contributes to safety.

Metso has been engineering valve solutions for more than 90 years and developing smart valve controllers for 50 years. We are one of a few flow control companies that can deliver an entire valve solution including the valve, actuator and smart controller. On top of this, we also have the capability to custom-engineer valves for the harsh, abrasive and acidic conditions that come with, for example autoclave processing – a field that has been growing in the nickel, copper and gold space in recent years. Our valve expertise encompasses several industries, allowing us to help you choose the best options for valve applications.

To find out more, see our interview with International Mining.

A mine of 10,000 valves
Terrafame mine achieved more reliability and got their new valves delivered within six hours with Metso's availability service.