ONTARIO - CVRD INCOs South mine, in the famous Sudbury Basin of Ontario, extracts over 900,000 tonnes of nickel- and copper-rich ore each year. As in most hard rock underground mines there is a substantial amount of water used for drilling, washing and maintenance plus the seepage of groundwater. The water must be pumped or gravity-fed back to holding areas with drainage sumps. In the underground environment, there is always a large amount of fine rock cuttings, residual slimes and mud that build up in the sumps, eventually decreasing the sumps capacity for mine wastewater. If the sumps are not cleaned of these solids on a regular basis, the material becomes a very hard mud referred to as mine slimes. The only way to clean out the sumps at this point is by using a load-haul-dumper (LHD).
In the case of South mine, a particular sump located on 4130 level was too small to facilitate cleaning with an LHD. Mark Moffatt, planner for Division 2, had not been able to use this sump to its full capacity for over a year because of slimes build-up. He was looking for a way to clean the solids from this sump to restore its full capacity.
Moffatt was introduced to the new Supavac. A Guzzla Model SV60 was just the right pump to handle this job. The setup time was less than one hour and removal of the hard mud-like material began. Vacuuming of the mine slimes was done using two 6.1-m lengths of 75-cm suction hose with a Guzzla pickup nozzle, and discharging was through 45 m of 100-cm bull hose.
Moffatt reports, I have lots of positive response to the new Supavac pump. When we did the test on 4130 level, I was totally amazed at how thick the slimes were and that pump sucked it up and out. At the suction end, the slimes where so thick, I was waiting for the line to fill up and plug, but when you looked at the discharge, it was spitting out water. I was very impressed with the Supavac. I think it has a bright future in the mining industry.
The slimes removal was quickly completed, removing over 40 m of slimes, and restoring the full capacity back to the sump.
The patented vacuum recovery and pressure discharge technology is the key to the operation of Supavac pumps. With no rotating parts or electricity and with no moving parts in contact with the flow, extremely high reliability has been the experience. All that is required is a supply of compressed air.
Supavac pumps are designed to handle any flowable sludge or slurry. They can also function as an effective high-lift vacuum system for most flowable bulk solids, including underwater applications of up to 23-m vertical lifts.
Supavac automatic solids transfer pumps, with capacities from 10 to 60 m/h and higher, can achieve fluid suction lifts up to 7.5 m dry static and through 60-m horizontal lines, air flow vacuum pneumatic recovery up to 23 m vertical and effective product discharge of up to 885 m horizontal.
Supavac pumps can handle abrasive and corrosive slurries; hazardous waste; drilling mud waste and cuttings; rock, sand and ballast; mine tailings and muck; hydrocarbon and viscous sludge; raw effluent; and all types of wet and dry spills. Installations include mines, quarries and construction sites; snake pits and upset sumps; digesters and tank cleanout; underwater pipeline cleaning; oil and gas exploration; horizontal drilling; conveyor spillage; lagoons and ponds; bypass pumping; tunnelling; pneumatic excavation and conveyance; and onsite transfers. The pumps are compact and fully enclosed for zero-discharge environmental compliance.
Supavac pump systems are in active service from Australia to the United States and from Chile to the North Sea, and are now available for purchase and rental through authorized dealers in Canada.
For more information, please contact Supavac Canada at (866) 735-9005. Video clips, installation photos and specifications are on the website at www.SupavacCanada.com.
(Bob Spicer is president of Supavac Canada Inc.)