KSB Pumps and Valves has broken the ‘slurry pumps have short lifespans’ myth with the ongoing success of its Navachab gold mine installation in Namibia, where 10 of its LSA slurry pumps have operated for nearly a year without incident.

This is in stark contrast to the previous pump sets at the mine, which operated a mere 4 – 6 weeks between breakdowns in the aggressive wear environment of the mine.

Resultant stoppages and production losses had resulted in the mine’s management seeking alternative solutions from new suppliers.

KSB Pumps and Valves’ Andreas Gremels says the company was able to convince the mine of LSA technical superiority, and now has backed up the recommendation with actual on-the-job proof. “Our pumps have proven that they can work reliably and efficiently where others simply cannot.”

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 5 2018

Technical solution

He continues that the hard metal design and additional high-pressure gland water system is less prone to component wear. The KSB LSA pumps make use of a unique high-pressure gland water system and gland service package that pressurises the stuffing-box with non-slurry laden water to prevent particle ingress that can cause wear of components. Hard metal linings and specially designed impellers further contribute to the hard-wearing nature of the pumps.

“This just goes to show that specifying the right pump for a technical application is critical to the success of pumping operations. In the case of the Navachab gold mine, the additional performance gains and reliability were complimented by the outstanding work done by owners, QKR Namibia’s technical teams.

“They designed and managed the installation of the entire project including monitoring systems etc. and worked closely with our technical team to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the pumps and the entire installation,” says Gremels.

QKR Namibia projects engineer, du Preez Calitz, confirms the success of the project. “The pumps were selected based on the long term wear simulations done by KSB and full life cycle cost analysis during the tender evaluation process.

“We have not looked back since then. In fact, an open inspection of the pumps recently revealed a much lower wear rate than initially expected which has resulted in lower operating and maintenance costs as foreseen over the total lifecycle of the pumps.

“The pumps have certainly met and exceeded our expectations and the solid technical input and support of the company has been superb from the outset.”

All-round solution

Echoing the sentiment, AK Roux, projects and asset management manager for QKR Namibia, adds that the new pump station has now run more than 5000 hours without a single breakdown.

He added that the project team placed specific focus on the evaluation of the full life cycle cost of the operation and maintenance of the pumps during the design of the new pump station and the selection of equipment.

This resulted in pump installation which consume 18% less power under similar operation conditions than the previously installation, while the maintenance requirements over the first 5 000 hours of operations was limited to the repacking of the glands and the checking of bearing assembly oil levels.

KSB Pumps and Valves slurry pumps manager, Rob Bond, says the rural nature of this, and other mines in Namibia, makes it imperative that the pumps are manufactured from the highest quality materials and manufactured to the highest international standards.

Correct pump selection is important making it essential to work with the best technical teams available, such as those of KSB Pumps and Valves.

“The success of our slurry pumps in tough Namibian conditions is important to us as it gives us leverage to introduce our slurry pumps to other mines in the region.

“We are already one of the top suppliers of water pumps to mines in Namibia and the addition of our ultra-reliable slurry pumps enables us to become a multi-faceted solutions provider to the industry in Namibia and elsewhere in southern Africa,” he says.

You can read the full digital magazine here or subscribe here to receive a print copy