watermaster

Watermaster’s amphibious, multipurpose dredger is gaining growing interest from the southern African mining industry. As a result, the company is looking to expand further into the continent.

The dredger can be applied in various mining applications including slimes and sediment removal in process water ponds, recovering valuable materials in tailings ponds and for general tailings ponds maintenance.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 6, 2019
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Watermaster can also be applied in diamond and gold mining where gravel can be directly pumped into the classifier for sorting.

“Watermaster’s versatility and efficiency ensures the overall efficiency of the mine waste water treatment, contributing towards the smooth operation of the entire mining operation,” adds Vuokko Laurila, regional director for Watermaster in southern Africa.

In addition to applications in the mining industry, the  dredger is widely used for restoring and deepening shallow waterways, preventing floods, removing invasive vegetation, cleaning polluted urban canals and for construction work in water environments.

Backed by decades of experience

Manufactured in Finland by Aquamec, there are over 350 global Watermaster installations at mines and enrichment plants. To date, 50 units have been sold in Africa.

 The first generation machine, the Watermaster Classic I, was introduced to the market in 1986 and has since undergone several improvements. A fifth generation machine – the Watermaster Classic V – was  launched in 2017, with a powerful suction dredging capacity.

“The Watermaster mobile is specified for use in all shallow waters from dry ground to up to 6.3 m deep,” explains Laurila.

“The compact sized machine is easily transported as a complete unit. It unloads by itself from the trailer and walks independently into the water without crane assistance by using its tilting rear stabilisers and excavator arm.”

Furthermore, the company’s own Cutter Pump is an essential part of the Watermaster concept.

It enables 50% to 100% more effective pumping time compared with traditional dredging machines which have a stiff suction pipe covering only very narrow areas from one position and needs to be repositioned often, making the dredging work  very slow and costly.

Conventional machines also have a limited swing angel of between 30 and 90 m degrees and requires separate anchors, wire-cables and winches in their operation.

On the other hand, the Cutter Pump uses a strong, flexible excavator arm and independent anchoring system with four tilting stabilisers, which allows the Watermaster efficiently cover a large area of over 90 m², with a swing angle of 180°.

The Watermaster is also able to reposition itself quickly which means that over 96% of the total operation time is available for productive work and less than 4% goes to repositioning the machine; and it is ready to start working immediately after changing the position.

The Watermaster dredging solution can also effectively be used with dewatering bags, supplied by several manufacturers worldwide.

Watermaster pumps materials into the dewatering bags which provide an effective alternative to mechanical processing enabling the capture of precious metals and the efficient management of mine tailings and other mine waste streams.