With the largest installed base of mill circuit (MC) pumps in the world, Weir Minerals’ reputation as a slurry pump expert remains firmly intact.

To ensure it retains its status in the market, the company remains committed to enhancing the performance of this range, Weir Minerals Africa slurry pump product manager MARNUS KOORTS tells LAURA CORNISH.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 5, 2019
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Engineered for the most aggressive duties, Weir Minerals’ Warman MC pumps manage large size particles in highly abrasive slurries. These pumps are designed for the most severe slurry applications such as ball and SAG mill cyclone feed in minerals processing plants.

Like any pump, or product, within the company’s portfolio, its MC range offers a variety of advantages designed to optimise its clients’ operating experience.

“In addition to a reduction in wear life, our pump range is designed to be more energy efficient and is easier to maintain. We believe that service delivery and support are equally as important as our product, and are committed to ensuring excellent customer experience,” Koorts outlines.

As one of the largest and toughest heavy-duty pumps within the entire processing circuit, Weir Minerals, together with its local arm in South Africa are committed to ensuring its MC range offers increased productivity and decreased downtime.

The high resilience rubber wear liner handles coarse particles and ball scats with ease, while its lightweight design facilitates safer handling. It is also costs less than traditional heavy metal liners.

The Warman MCR pump incorporates the latest in hypereutectic alloy and elastomer technology, which significantly extends the wear life of the pump in highly abrasive and corrosive slurries, reducing operational costs.

These attributes were demonstrated at Electra Mining Africa 2018 where Weir Minerals Africa showcased its flagship MC pump – the Warman MCR 450 pump, which excels in the above mentioned areas compared to older generation pumps in the industry.

The company is committed to further improving its MC range and is already developing designs which will further reduce maintenance requirements.

The proof is in the pudding

A closer look at Weir Minerals’ recent installations in Africa and beyond showcases the advantages of the MC range.

Recently, Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena PGM mine collaborated closely with the local Weir Minerals Africa team to increase its throughput and reduce energy consumption on its existing Warman AH pumps which were pushed to maximum capacity and were running in excess of optimal efficiency flow.

The team proposed its Warman MCR 450 pump with rubber lining and a metal impeller as it offered a higher volumetric capacity in anticipation of a future increase in throughput requirements.

The larger MCR pump impeller results in lower pump speeds and consequently less wear. The rubber liner of the MCR pump is also lighter and the hydraulic design has improved efficiency and wear characteristics. The full proposal included the Weir Minerals Africa service team retrofitting the pump without disturbing existing motors, gearbox drives or pipework.

The results were immediately realised and enabled the mine to increase its pumping throughput by 100 000 dry tons while simultaneously realising significant energy savings.

An independent study was conducted after the initial installation which concluded that Mogalakwena convert all its mill discharge pumps to MCR 450 pumps to maximise pump performance and reduce energy consumption.

The mine has consequently installed another three MCR 400 pumps in the secondary mill circuit, which are running well.

After 3 000 hours in operation, the Warman MCR 450 pump was examined to evaluate the wear rate of the hydraulic components which Weir Minerals Africa estimates will save the mine just over R550 000 annually on spares, and even more in power.

Outside of Africa, the MC pump delivers equally impressive results.

In Spain at Cobre Las Cruces a Warman MCR250 pump achieved between two and three times more wear life compared to a competitor pump.

In Australia at Evolution Mining a Warman MCR150 achieved five times more wear life compared to a competitor pump and at Kanmantoo a Warman MCR 250 achieved between three and five times the wear life when compared to older Warman technology.

And in New Zealand at Oceana Gold a Warman MCU250 doubled the wear life and reduced total cost of ownership by 30% from the previous pump

Research and development continues to deliver product improvement

Weir Minerals is driven by innovation and research and development (R&D) teams all over the world specialise in various pumping technologies.

One of the significant additions emerging from extensive R&D through its advanced materials division is the imminent release of a new rubber designed to reduce wear.

In line with its focus to incorporate automation technologies into its products, Warman pumps can now be enhanced with Synertrex IIoT technology which allows operators to closely monitor their pump’s operation, prevent problems and increase throughput.

Koorts confirms that the company is looking to incorporate add-ons to the system which could include the ability to monitor wear detection inside the pump.

“Ultimately – our products, research and development are geared towards optimising process plant circuits in terms of uptime and ease of use. This definitely applies to our MC pump range,” Koorts concludes.