Metso Insights Blog Mining and metals blog 3 times lower wear cost with new iron ore mine pumps
Jun 30, 2016

3 times lower wear costs, greater water savings with new iron ore mine pumps

Iron ore is one of the world’s most commonly used metals. It is the key ingredient for almost 95% of all metals produced globally per year.
Itaminas mine in Brazil installed over 70 slurry pumps

To secure production of the mineral that requires continuous and flawless 24/7 operation, the Itaminas mine in Sarzedo, Minas Gerais, Brazil, chose to install over 70 of our slurry pumps with special gland seal technology. Itaminas is the country’s second largest supplier of pig iron. 

High wear leads to new solution

The Itaminas iron ore production process begins with the concentrator, then moves to the magnetic separator, cyclone and product stalls, and finally on to the tailings tank. The ore is then pumped to the tailings dam via a pumping system comprised of five stations. Each station is equipped with three pumps; two in operation and one built as a standby unit.

The previously installed pumps at the Itaminas mine had very high wear due to the abrasiveness of the sinter feed, pellet feed and hematite iron ore with a density of 1.85 kg/m3 being pumped. The pumps only had a parts lifetime of approximately three months. In addition, labor to maintain these pumps was expensive and complex.

Since the pumps were not suitable for their task, Itaminas decided to replace them with Metso’s pumps to decrease the maintenance downtime, increase production and save costs.

Expeller gland seal decreases maintenance

Backed by proven experience from similar applications, our Metso team installed the Orion HM series pumps fitted with an expeller gland seal that operates without the use of gland sealing water. Since our HM series pumps are also fitted with high chrome wet-end spare parts, they are especially recommended when pumping very abrasive slurry material.

According to the customer’s feedback we got after replacing the pumps, the mine’s operational personnel noticed a considerable efficiency difference thanks to our solution. Maintenance became much simpler and less frequent. The tailings pumping system has been working now without any failures, even after two years of intensive operation.

Maintenance costs down by 75%; water savings up

After our Metso team has installed the Orion pumps, Itaminas has been able to reduce maintenance costs by 75%. And since the maintenance workload decreased, Itaminas could redirect its maintenance personnel to more important tasks.

In addition, our solution included special expeller gland sealing technology because water availability was extremely scarce at the location. This allowed the mine to eliminate the use of gland sealing water and greatly reduce water costs.

Stock program reduces unplanned downtime

To improve customer service and guarantee the shortest possible time during shutdowns, we provided Itaminas with a consignment of stock parts, ensuring immediate availability whenever needed. This helped the mine reduce unplanned downtime, secure flawless operation and ultimately maximize its production. Itaminas only pays for the parts the mine uses, further reducing the costs.

The stock program involves a monthly stock evaluation, unit count and recommendations for improvements from our Metso experts. For each specific project, we use extensive knowledge and experience from other similar types of installations to give suggestions that can help make a difference for Itaminas.