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DEWATERING: A how to guide from Weir Minerals



Every region has different issues with water. Weir Minerals offers unique – even automated – solutions.

WISCONSIN – Water is critical for every mine site, and without it the entire operation would stop.  Every mine site faces a different challenge with water – it’s either scarce, or in excess and causing an issue.

Weir Minerals can develop a comprehensive, reliable and flexible dewatering plan to ensure there is a steady supply of process water throughout the site. Conversely, the company can guide customers through the removal of excess water from working areas to allow excavation to continue while safeguarding the operators and maintaining productivity also requires a dewatering plan.

Major considerations for any dewatering project:

  • Weather and environment

Each site’s dewatering requirements vary and present unique challenges, with environmental and geological considerations, as well as local climatic variations.

Differences in weather conditions and environmental changes can have a significant effect on an operation.  From the outback of Australia where water is scarce, the recovery of water is desperately required compared to the tropical climates of Brazil, where open pits rapidly fill with water, or sub-zero (–50°C) Arctic operations in northern Canada that operate year round – they all require effective water management systems. Every site, in every country, experiences varying issues with water management and requires a strong partner to support them, whatever the issue.

There are also a number of factors affecting the dewatering system, from the permeability and porosity of the ground, the amount of surface water, and geological features such as seasonal rainfall, which must all be assessed and factored into a detailed dewatering system before work can begin.  The dewatering system put in place must be able to cope with this to provide a safe solution and minimise production delays.

  • What’s in the water?

The composition of water being moved has a notable impact on the equipment and materials used. The pH range, temperature, corrosive and abrasive content all play a critical role in selecting the equipment to transport water effectively. The presence of solids in the water, the specific gravity, size distribution and content percentage will determine the type of pumps required.

Equally, the pipework and valves are also subject to corrosion and abrasion from the products handled and must be designed accordingly.

For every dewatering project, it’s important the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) understands the environment before developing the strategy, to deliver the optimal solution. The pitfalls of over or undersized equipment include excessive energy use, high cost investment and maintenance and also risk to equipment and personnel, as well as lost production in the case of insufficient capacity.

  • Waste not, want not

With depleting ore grades around the world, there is an emphasis on turning waste into energy, and the dewatering process is no different. Weir Minerals produces equipment which not only dewaters mine sites, but also enables the operator to recycle and re-use back through the plant.

Reclaiming process water for reuse is an increasing demand from operators as it can help overcome the issue of water scarcity, and ensure the operation is gaining maximum use of its resources.

  • Deal with the best equipment supplier

Operators usually rely on multiple OEMs for dewatering projects – a labour intensive task dealing with different providers and ensuring a solution comes together in a streamlined process.

Weir Minerals can remove this headache by project managing the entire dewatering solution, utilising products from our extensive dewatering range. This involves a thorough assessment of the requirements of the site, including the mine plan, operating depths, and existing infrastructure, as well as required water in-flow.

Weir Minerals use expertise in both process and products to maximize efficiency and help operators take control of their water. Visit www.DewateringSolutions.Weir for more information.