Tsurumi Pumps’ products are featured on the eighth season of Gold Rush, the popular Discovery Channel reality series that follows the exploits of 316 Mining. The Oregon-based mining company chose Tsurumi as its exclusive provider of pumping equipment, which includes numerous pumps, variable frequency drives and custom built pontoons. Key personnel from Tsurumi’s U.S. division also offered extensive engineering consultation on the job site in Fairplay, Colo. before shooting began.
Glenn Wieczorek (left), managing director of Tsurumi America, and Todd Hoffman, leader of Gold Rush’s Hoffman crew, discuss mining operations on the job site in Fairplay, Colo.
A handful of crew members at 316 Mining — known by fans as the Hoffman crew — had previous experience using Tsurumi pumps in their operations, which made the choice to use the company’s products during the latest season an easy one.
Prior to filming Gold Rush’s eighth season, 316 Mining had been using engine driven pumps from another manufacturer in its placer gold plants. But Fairplay’s elevation of 3,034 metres above sea level made it impossible to run the pumps’ diesel engines at a constant RPM, and the resulting surges in power were not conducive to maintaining a steady flow of water. In an industry where lost time equates to lost gold, 316 Mining quickly turned to a more dependable solution: electric submersible pumps from Tsurumi.
“If our operations are down for even a day, it can mean up to US$30,000 in gold loss,” crew leader Todd Hoffman said. “We explained our issues to the folks at Tsurumi during MinExpo, and after working with the company’s engineers and leasing three pumps, we’ve mined quite a bit of gold and haven’t had any pump related downtime on the job site. It’s been a great relationship.”
“Any time you put your product on a popular television show to be featured, you’re taking a risk,” said Glenn Wieczorek. “But our pumps have a long, proven track record in the field of mining. We Hunad confidence going in, and there was no question that our pumps would address the Hoffman crew’s needs in this particular application.”
Key personnel from Tsurumi America visited Fairplay in April of 2017 to get a better feel for the Hoffman Crew’s pumping needs. Tsurumi’s engineers consulted with the miners to determine that the washing plant might need to move as much as 9.5 m3 of water per minute at 30.5 metres of head for optimal sluicing. The ideal pump for the job turned out to be Tsurumi’s 75 kW GSZ-75-4L electric submersible pump, equipped with a variable frequency drive (VFD).
Today, the Hoffman Crew’s GSZ-75-4L is set up on a custom-built pontoon, also provided by Tsurumi. The pump is floating in a manmade reservoir and is currently moving 9.5 m3 of water per minute at only 12.2 metres of head, a lower level of performance than was first determined. Luckily for the Hoffman crew, the pump’s duty point and VFD enable them to easily adjust flow and head to meet changing demands on the job site.
According to Freddy Dodge, gold recovery and wash plant expert for 316 Mining, the combined flexibility of the GSZ-75-4L and the VFD has led to a successful yield at the mine.
“Even though things changed, it didn’t matter,” he said. “Not only are we seeing a return on our investment, but we’re experiencing less downtime, fewer headaches, less maintenance, and we’re recovering more gold because the pump is so constant. It’s such a steady flow of water compared to the engine-driven pumps we were using.”
Gold Rush (www.discovery.com/tv-shows/gold-rush/) is broadcasted in 130 different countries and reaches nearly 300 million global viewers.
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