September 21, 2008, Las Vegas, Nev. – Three thousand meters (1.86 miles) above sea level, the world’s largest open pit copper mine in Chuquicamata, Chile, produces nearly a million tons of ore each year. More than 3,770 meters (2.34 miles) beneath Savuka, Africa, the deepest underground mine produces more than 70,000 ounces of precious gold.
These and every mine in between share the challenge of moving water, chemicals and slurries to extract and process valuable minerals while safely disposing of waste. Thousands of mine managers turn to the Fluid Technology division of ITT – a $3.5 billion business in 2007– for pumps, valves, automatic pump controllers and related products that help them to do this hard work more efficiently.
ITT mining products, showcased here at MINExpo, are marketed under many brand names familiar to the mining industry such as Goulds, Flygt, Fabri-Valve, and DiaFlo. They give mine managers thousands of options for size, power and manufacturing materials to meet a specific pumping need or valve application. All of these different products share three characteristics in common.
They are engineered for low total costs of ownership, helping customers to improve mine productivity and reduce energy consumption
They offer high reliability and durability, made from high-quality materials and manufactured to exacting standards that distinguish ITT brands from competing products
They are backed by a global network of ITT support centers and distributors that make maintenance and service available 24/7/365 – on competing products as well as ITT’s own
“Mining used to be about brawn more than brains, as men with picks and shovels worked under dangerous conditions to extract minerals from the earth in a largely manual process,” said Tony Przybylek, Global Marketing Manager for Mining. “Modern mines are highly mechanized and employ industrial processes to improve productivity and enhance safety. At every stage of the process that involves moving liquids or slurries, ITT offers pump and valve solutions that can help customers to maximize the efficiency of their mining operation.”
From extraction to processing to waste disposal
Millions of ITT pumps and valves are in use today by thousands of customers in surface and underground mines on six continents. These ITT products support virtually every type of mine and every step in the process – from dewatering as mines are established, to processing diverse slurries, to water treatment and finally, waste tailings disposal after minerals have been processed.
Applications for ITT Fluid Handling Systems in Mining
Drill hole drainage
Raft drainage (for slurry and sludge removal)
Face and stage dewatering
Main drainage stations
Shaft bottom drainage
Acid feed systems
Crushing/grinding/classification/ enrichment processes
Decant pond pumping
Dense media separation
Emergency dam drainage
Filter press operations
Metal refinery lines
Phosphoric acid slurry
Raw coal slurry
Solvent extraction (SX)
Water supply and handling
HVAC systems for mine buildings Water supply
Water treatment including Ozone and UV processes
Here are a few specific examples that illustrate how ITT products are used to improve efficiency and even save lives in mining applications.
Multiple brands, one focus
Cleaning a tailing dam in Siberia. At a ferro alloy plant in Novokuznetsk, Russia, a Flygt submersible pump – mounted on a continuously moving catamaran – removes a build-up of 20,000 tons of smelting waste produced annually, in a slurry that is 25 to 35 percent solid and collects at a tailing dam. The pumping solution has reduced both time and expense from the previous approach of excavating the waste, with less environmental impact.
Helping rescue trapped coal miners in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Nine workers at the Quecreek coal mine in southwestern Pennsylvania were trapped when a wall separating their tunnel from an abandoned, flooded mine nearby collapsed. Overnight, the Goulds Pumps unit in Lubbock, Texas produced two four-stage, submersible pumps with custom couplings and adapter plates to fit the rescue operation’s pumping system. In place the next day, each of the two pumps helped remove about 3,000 gallons of water per minute from the mine. Combined with six submersible Flygt pumps, they allowed ITT to play a major role in saving the miners – who were rescued after more than three days of being trapped underground.
Solvent extraction and processing of copper in Chile. Two of the largest processing facilities in Chile – which produces 40 percent of the world’s copper annually – employ a method called solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX/EW) to recover nearly pure copper from low-grade ore and waste tailings. The process uses a highly abrasive acid solution to leach copper from the other material; ITT worked with both plants to replace inefficient vertical pumps with ITT pumps that dramatically boosted productivity and efficiency.
At the largest copper-concentrate producing mine in the world, also in Chile, ITT supports every aspect of the slurry processing method used to process ore. ITT Fabri-Valves are used to manage slurry flows in both the processing and tailings system. In addition, a variety of Goulds and Flygt pumps are used in mining, processing and transporting the product from the mine – located high in the Andes Mountains – through a 180 km (112 mile) pipeline to a seaside concentration plant. Because of the mine’s remote location, the high reliability of ITT products provide essential value to this customer.
Pumping concrete in Canada. A hard rock mine in Ontario, Canada, employs a method called vertical retreat mining (VRM) to maximize efficiency and minimize cost. Ore deposits are blasted from a top floor of rock, creating an open cavern that must be backfilled before adjoining deposits can be mined. The paste fill is a thick slurry – 50 percent cement-water mixture with a specific gravity of 3 – that must be pumped from a tank to be mixed with waste rock and create a solid fill in each open cavern. As the caverns grew farther from the tank and competing pumps could no longer move the paste fill where it needed to go, a high-powered Flygt dewatering pump and submersible pump were adapted to get the job done.
The applications described above demonstrate how products from different ITT companies work together to offer complete mining-process solutions that are “engineered for life.” The brands and products most commonly used in mining include:
Goulds Pumps – Goulds dominance in the mining industry dates back to the late 1800s. Designed for the most severe applications, its pumps can be found in coal, aluminum, copper, iron, clay, phosphate, potash, soda ash, salt, gold and aggregate industry throughout the world. Goulds offers the widest range of corrosion and abrasion resistant slurry pumps in the industry, including vertical, horizontal, and submersible designs for cyclone feed, tailings disposal, minerals processing, mine dewatering, clarifier underflow, and sump services. Goulds Pumps innovation has lead to the first vertical sump pump in the industry, the Model VRS, to share interchangeable wet end parts with Goulds popular SRL horizontal slurry pump – announced in 2008 at MINExpo.
Flygt® – The Flygt product portfolio includes submersible pumps, mixers, and mechanical aeration equipment used in environments ranging from water and wastewater treatment, raw water supply, abrasive or contaminated industrial processes, and dewatering. Flygt’s submersible pumps and mixers, pump flotation modules, permissible pumps and abrasive resistant slurry pumps are used in a wide range of mining applications.
Fabri-Valve® – Fabri-Valve products are proven for handling process fluids for the chemical, waste water, power, oil sands, and mining industries. Products for mining include the SV1 Guillotine Gate™ push-through slurry valve – introduced in 2008 at MINExpo – bi-directional knife gate valves, slide gate valves and butterfly gate valves.
DiaFlo® – DiaFlo makes stainless steel diaphragm valves used in slurry, wastewater, acid feed, solvent extraction, carbon fines, heap leaching and metal refinery lines applications.
Along with products sold under other brands, ITT provides systems that support mine infrastructure including water filtration and supply, water treatment, wastewater treatment, water desalination systems and HVAC systems.
The company’s mining portfolio includes thousands of individual products from a wide range of ITT value centers. All are unified by a central value proposition – helping mine managers and operators to do their jobs more efficiently, with products that are engineered for reliability and low costs of ownership, and that are backed by outstanding service and support.
About ITT Corporation
ITT Corporation (www.itt.com
) supplies advanced technology products and services in several growth markets. ITT is a global leader in water and fluid transport, treatment and control technology. The company plays a vital role in international security with communications and electronics products; space surveillance and intelligence systems; and advanced engineering and services. It also serves a number of growing markets—including marine, transportation and aerospace—with a wide range of motion and flow control technologies. Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., the company generated $8.8 billion in 2007 sales.