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Optimising processes through strong partnerships

Published by , Editor
Global Mining Review,

The mining industry is facing a number of challenges including declining ore grades, environmental pressures, and water scarcity. To deal with these challenges, and continue to strengthen operations, mine sites need a supplier that truly understands their business and can help drive initiatives and improvements, overcoming challenges together.

Optimising processes through strong partnerships

“We are much more than an equipment supplier. We have the engineering expertise, technical know-how and local support to help our customers optimise their entire circuit. Mine operators need more than just another equipment supplier, they need someone they can rely on and we take every opportunity to partner with our customers,” states John McNulty, Vice President Global Engineering and Technology for Weir Minerals.

Weir Minerals believes the only way to effectively optimise a mine’s process is by working closely with the customer. With over 100 service centres across the globe, Weir Minerals’ expanded service network ensures the team are available throughout the entire process from installation and commissioning through to on-site maintenance.

“We are not driven by what other suppliers are doing. We are customer-centric. It’s all about our customers, their businesses and our ongoing shared successes. We are doing this to be the partner of choice now and well into the future,” states John McNulty.

Weir Minerals have built their entire philosophy upon this customer-centric approach which they have termed Integrated Solutions. It’s a global team effort from process and service engineers, to product specialists all working together to tackle any given problem.

“Our team work with the customer to understand their vision, identify any problems and then work with them at real solutions, not remotely but on site. Wherever possible we want to be part of the entire process from the brainstorming right through to the installation. This instils confidence in our ability to deliver whatever the customer requires,” states John McNulty.

Integrated Solutions is just another way of saying partnership, and when Weir Minerals partners with customers it works. This is evident across multiple projects.

Integrated solutions projects

In Finland, the Weir Minerals team helped Yara Siilinjärvi mine to increase its tailings storage space without expanding the mine’s footprint.

Yara’s existing tailings storage facility (TSF) was reaching full capacity. They conducted an extensive study for future storage of tailings and decided to go for a thickened tailings solution. The tailings would be thickened to 68 - 72% by weight in order to build a 2° deposit, thereby sufficiently increasing the storage capacity.

Weir Minerals supplied a complete pumping solution to Yara, comprising of three GEHO® TZPM 2000 pumps and Warman® centrifugal pumps. In addition, Weir Minerals also supplied the required hydraulic actuated slurry valves, suction strainers, slurry instrumentation and helped develop the functional description for Yara’s distributed control system (DCS).

The system was successfully commissioned in February 2017, with slurry solids concentrations reaching target, resulting in a slope at the TSF of approximately 3°. This has extended the current life of the mine well beyond 2035.

Over in South Africa, Weir Minerals helped CNC Crushers optimise their entire process. The team were experiencing high wear on the installed conventional hydrocyclone as well as old technology Envirotech® pump, having to replace it every 120 hours.

The Weir Minerals team re-evaluated how the site operated, analysing the issues and sketching up a completely new process for the site. A Warman® WBH® 100 slurry pump, a Cavex® 400CVX10 hydrocyclone, and Trio® TC cone crushers were all installed to increase up-time and reduce maintenance costs. In addition, a spares and service agreement was put in place to ensure that maximum plant availability was maintained.

The results of this refit surpassed all expectation with a 2007% decrease in pump maintenance, a 45% increase in plant throughput, and a 100% boost in plant output.

When asked about the partnership with Weir Minerals, Carl Crous, CNC Owner stated: “Partnering with Weir Minerals increased my production output significantly and my uptime increased overnight, I should have done it long ago.”

Both projects are just a few examples of how Weir Minerals’ integrated solutions approach can revolutionise the operation of a site.

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